Alibaba Enters Japan

Alibaba’s growing aspirations to be the one-stop tech shop for all consumer and business products in Asia, became one inch closer to reality with its entry into the Japanese market. On Thursday, the company announced a couple of partnerships that are likely to give a big boost to its two growing business arms – content delivery and cloud storage.

One of the partnership is with the Tokyo-based SoftBank Group Corporation. Already, SoftBank is one of Alibaba’s largest investors, and with this agreement, it has entered into a joint venture to run a local cloud center hosted by SB Cloud Corporation. With this partnership, Alibaba has officially entered the Japanese market, and it will offer cloud computing services to local clients. The other agreement is with Oriental DreamWorks, through which it plans to bring animated movies to its Chinese customers on its online streaming platforms – Tudou.com and Youku.com.

This entry into Japan is significant in many ways. Alibaba has been strategizing to have a global footprint with a stronghold in Asia. Already, it’s cloud product called Aliyun, has a presence in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, and with this data center, the total number of global data centers has increased to 14. Outside of Asia, it has a big presence in the US, and a growing one in Australia.

Currently, Alibaba is one of the largest conglomerates in the world, and owns the following companies:

  • Aliyun – Cloud computing platform
  • Tmall – Largest platform for businesses and retailers for B2B and B2C transactions in China.
  • Taobao – Largest online shopping platform in China
  • AliExpress – A global retail market platform
  • 1688 – Leading wholesale marketplace in China
  • Alimama – Largest online marketing platform in China
  • Youku.com and Tudou.com – China’s largest online video streaming platforms
  • Cainiao – Platform for logistics and operation management.
  • Alitalk – Instant messenger for merchants and businesses

With such an impressive portfolio of companies, it’s no surprise that Alibaba is looking beyond the Chinese shores. If you look closely, Alibaba and Amazon have a lot in common. Both companies started out as e-commerce retailers and branched into public cloud computing line of business. Also, these two companies are leaders in their respective geographical areas, though Amazon is much larger and has a wider global footprint when compared to Alibaba. This partly explains why Alibaba is trying to mirror Amazon, and even compete with it on the global market.

It is significant to note that Amazon opened its new cloud data center in London last week to meet the growing demands of its British clients, and also to prepare for the possible consequences of Brexit. Likewise, Alibaba also entered the Australian market a few weeks ago to cater to the growing needs of its Australian customers. In this sense, both the companies have been aggressively pursuing different markets, and it’ll be interesting to see how the competition plays out in the Asian market, especially considering that Gartner predicts the Asia Pacific and Japan cloud market to be worth $11.5 billion by 2018.

About The Author
Lavanya
Lavanya Rathnam is a professional writer of tech and financial blogs. Creative thinker, out of the boxer, content builder and tenacious researcher who specializes in explaining complex ideas to different audiences.
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