The adoption of cloud services in the Asia-Pacific region is accelerating as cloud providers expand their presence across the region and China’s Alibaba Cloud becomes a force to be reckoned with in this market.

GlobalData expects the cloud services market to grow at a rate of of 27.7%, from $16.2bn in 2017 to $55.2bn in 2022.

Companies appreciate the benefits of the cloud and an insatiable trend of product launches by cloud providers drives demand for more services.

These include artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, blockchain and IoT. New capabilities such as private cloud and security features, such as CASB, will also address migration concerns.

Global providers vs Alibaba Cloud

While global cloud providers – AWS, Google, IBM and Microsoft – have been active in Asia-Pacific, there are many providers competing for a share of the market.

In particular, Alibaba Cloud is a force to be reckoned with. It has established a leading position in China with almost 50% of the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market share in China.

Its annual revenue grew 101% in FY2018 to $2.1bn.

China has nearly three-times the number of internet users compared to the USA which speaks volumes around its ability to scale.

In addition, Alibaba Cloud has a strong presence in a number of industries inside China which include retail, e-commerce, government, logistics, manufacturing and banking. The company offers over 240 vertical solutions which it can potentially roll-out globally. The company works to a DevOps culture and speed.

Within one quarter, it is not unusual for the provider to add 300 new products or features.

Alibaba Cloud outside China

The company is now placing bets in some emerging markets such as India, Malaysia and Indonesia, while competing with others in developed markets such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

It seeks to establish up to 10,000 partners globally and has partnerships with Vodafone, Singtel, PCCW, Data Pipe, Malaysia’s TIME, Indonet and SK Telecom.

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The cloud provider is also closing the gap with rivals in terms of products and speed of releases, e.g., Apsara (hybrid/private cloud), PAI (AI), Data Lakes, Link Kit (data management) and ElasticSearch.

It is staying ahead of competition with an SD-WAN offer (Smart Access Gateway). This is an over-the-top SD-WAN solution that can be ordered online. The hardware will be delivered to companies, which will then be configured and managed remotely through a console based on the hardware specifications and bandwidth required.

With the ongoing migration of IT to the cloud, telecom providers and IT service providers have developed a cloud practice help customers migrate their workloads, implement hybrid cloud and managing multi-cloud environments. These providers often partner with top players particularly AWS and Microsoft Azure to help customers keen to use the public cloud services.

Going forward, they need to broaden the list of partners since customers are likely to be using a wider range of cloud services and Alibaba Cloud should be on the list for consideration.

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