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Home » INTERVIEW » Conquering Asia – Alibaba on a Roll

Conquering Asia – Alibaba on a Roll

Enabling Indian companies to utilise the Cloud, secure, scalable and with the Alibaba guarantee of compliance and support, Dr. Alex Li, General Manager, Alibaba Cloud India, is determined to drive growth for them, and to ensure they benefit hugely from the new technologies on offer 

  1. Security is still a concern for Cloud users. What kind of support does Alibaba provide for Cloud security?
Alex-Li_General-Manager_Ali
Dr. Alex Li, General Manager, Alibaba Cloud India

Security is always top priority for Alibaba Cloud, in any country. We completely comply with   regulations, and give enough flexibility to the customer to decide where they want to put their data.  We do not touch the data without permission of the customers.  We are also opening a second data centre very soon, and I think it’s very important for the local customers.

Security is one of the key products for Alibaba. We have Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) to protect customers’ data. As a result, we have may customers, like Reliance Entertainment, who chose Alibaba Cloud as security products service provider.

Also, every market has different policies and Alibaba Cloud always has been the first Cloud provider to do everything possible to follow government rules. So for GDPR in EU, we are the first to pass the compliance requirements. We also have the technology to ensure our business performance is highly secure. We share our internal digital transformation practices with our customer, so they can really value and appreciate that.

  1. How is Alibaba supporting Indian customers in their digital transformation journey?

I think we have developed many big customers in India while in China we have many customers from different industries. Outside of China we also have developed and deployed our solutions for the different vertical industry customers. We have worked with Reliance Entertainment to help them launch their gaming in more than 150 countries in one week and it was a big success. Similarly for other verticals, we work with clients to provide a Big Data platform to drive their business operations. We want to invest more in this area, because this is a key differentiator for Alibaba Cloud compared with other players. So customers are not keen anymore in commodity products like computing servers, storages, etc. they want to understand our business standing. How you create vitality in business, how you can have their business successful in their own industry. This is something we want to change, we want add value to our customer. This is across sectors, and as an example, in the banking sector, one of our customers is Paytm which is a very typical payment company

  1. What are Alibaba’s business plans for India?

In India this year I think we still focus on building up the business foundations. We just concluded 3 Summits in New Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore. It was extremely successful for each session we had 150 partners to join and I think this is an important strategy to buildup an ecosystem partnership in the region. From the consulting to training, from the software development to system integration, from resale to manual service, we just want to be sure we have enough ecosystem partners to work with Alibaba Cloud together, to win together. This is the top strategy for us.

The second one is about is about industry focus.I think in India we focus on a couple of areas one is Internet business. In that we have invested in many internet based companies like Zomato, Big Basket, Paytm & we have also started working with other internet based companies for the different areas and we are getting good feedbacks.  We are also focusing on media and entertainment, because they are very high users for Cloud services. So we worked with many media customers like Reliance entertainment and quite a lot of few others. I mean for such areas we want to build up our foundations.

Lastly, we want to focus on the small and medium companies.  As you know start-ups are very active in India especially in cities like Bangalore, Pune, and Gurgaon. Many of them are very promising and very confident for the future.We want to provide special incentive programs for start-ups who will adopt our solutions. We have partnered with VCs and with incubators to launch a lot of program along with them.

  1. Does Alibaba have its own supporting programs for start-ups or upcoming business?

We also launched the program ‘Create at Alibaba’ in which we selected the best start-ups in different cities & we also gave them the opportunity to meet the prospective investors. We invited them to come to China and sponsored them to compete with other teams from different countries. We created a lot of excitement in the market in this area. We also believe in nurturing the market, so we have just launched the training program, wherein by end of March, we plan to train around 1000 professionals and sales professionals just to make sure we will have local players capable of implementation of power solutions. So globally, we have 1000 partners in this year and by this year end, we are looking at 10000.

  1. What is the Cloud partner ecosystem for Alibaba in India?

We have a very open ecosystem, and focus more on resellers & ISVs. We also launched the distributed distribution model. So we partnered with HCL and Ingram Micro to start the Cloud business in the country. They will help us reach direct partners, this is our strategy at this stage. But we also find that every partner can give us something special. We also work with KPMG, Accenture and other local ISV players, Big Data experts, professionals for retail or web hosting or Managed service brands- different areas. Then we also help with local players to utilise their capabilities. For example, for big data we have closed a couple of big deals for Big Data project that needs local partners to be capable of implementing those projects. So they are in the process of certifications. This is completely new for local players. This is a personalised recommendation engine, it’s the core technology of Alibaba Cloud, and so we shall share with our experience with our local partners.

This quarter we have some new partners and we have a plan to have 1000 by end of March 2019. It is quite aggressive but we have setup dedicated team, to drive the business growth.

  1. What is the differentiation that Alibaba Cloud brings – compared to other Cloud ecosystems?

Alibaba Cloud can bring different value to the partners because the ecosystem is quite open, so this will be good opportunity for partners to understand about Alibaba Cloud they can add more value by leveraging our product. Also, more and more customers are looking for multi-cloud solutions. While different companies have different things to offer, Alibaba Cloud has setup very good tools for the market Cloud management, so deployment will be easy. The third differentiator will be the team. We have also built a specialized team for enterprise customers for whom we already have different approaches. For example we also setup the technical counter measure role to manage the after sales service. At Alibaba we are also looking at customers who do business outside India and also who want to do business outside India. If any customer wants to do business in India or China, most of them will start from mid-east or south East Asia countries. We have data centres in Dubai and also more than any other brand, in south East Asia. So most Indian customers really appreciate this. So we want to show capabilities, and compete in this market.  It’s not easy, but there is great potential. India market has been growing so fast, year-over –year, it has been evolving over years and keeps changing all the time. They can leverage some new technologies, ideas new business models that we like to offer.

In India we are at number three, and in Asia pacific, in Cloud, we are number two. We have the vision to take leadership in Asia pacific. In China we are already there. That’s why we are launching newer products for local customers.  In every market we have competitors. Our approach has to be different, because we wouldn’t want the customers to think of us as just another brand. Indian market we are looking to be the top player in three years. It’s a challenge, but we are on the way.

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