Alibaba Group’s cloud operator has announced plans to invest an initial $1 billion supporting talent and start-ups across the Asia Pacific region over the next three years.
Alibaba Cloud, also plans to launch its first data center in the Philippines by end-2021, deploy an innovation center in Malaysia, and officially launch its third data center in Indonesia.
Project AsiaForward aims to help grow 100,000 technology small- and medium-sized businesses in the region and empower developers.
The company has also kicked off the DigiTalents Forward programme in Singapore with the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE), and NTU-Alibaba Singapore Joint Research Institute (JRI) at Nanyang Technological University. The parties are planning to launch a variety of AI courses under NTU’s MiniMasters programme.
Facilitate the digital transformation
“Our strategic roadmap for APAC includes targeted investments to facilitate the digital transformation of local businesses. We see these investments as more timely given the impact of the pandemic and the sharp rise in demand for digital business tools,” Selina Yuan, General Manager of International Business Unit, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence said.
“Equally important is our focus on talent development and nurturing a digitally-competent workforce, which we see as a key challenge for many businesses to overcome going forward,” he noted.
E-commerce live streaming
At the summit, the company also announced an e-commerce live streaming solution to help merchants create live and interactive channels for online shoppers.
The solution is built on Alibaba Cloud’s content delivery networks and delivers real-time video processing technology to provide uninterrupted live streaming with low bandwidth costs.
Applications include virtual sales sessions, including live stream replays, product video showcases embedded into live streaming windows and real-time subtitle translation for cross-border live streams.
According to Alibaba Cloud Intelligence president Jeff Zhang, technology and innovation are crucial to the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these can only be possible with the support of people and talent familiar with digital applications.
Zhang comments, “We are seeing strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment.
“We are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure. Our focus on innovation and data center investments, as well as talent development, is in anticipation of a digital-first future,” Zhang added.