Alibaba Group, one of the biggest online commerce companies, announced the launch of new cloud computing products as the e-commerce giant looks to strengthen its footprint across Asia. The company also announced a new live streaming e-commerce service designed specifically for online shopping which will allow e-commerce companies to launch a live stream shopping features on their websites or apps that Alibaba Cloud hosts.
Cloud computing refers to the on-demand computing services that are delivered over the internet on pay-as-you-go plans. Companies can obtain access to a wide range of services ‒ from applications to storage ‒ from cloud service provides and pay only what they use in a month, rather investing into their own computing infrastructure. Cloud computing has been a key profit generating area for Alibaba over the last few years and the company has been strengthening its presence robustly outside of China. Alibaba also announced plans to open new data centers across Asia, with a first in Philippines by the end of 2021. Expanding network of data centers will allow the company to boost its capacity and footprint in numerous countries and regions.
The newly launched cloud-based livestream feature will involve a host discussing the products that customers can directly but through the live broadcast. The solution is built on Alibaba Cloud’s content delivery networks and provides real-time video processing technology to ensure uninterrupted live streaming. Applications will include virtual sales sessions such as livestream replays, product showcases, and real-time subtitle translation for cross-border live streams. It also supports end-to-end and device-to-cloud streaming to enable smaller merchants to launch their own livestream.
In 2020, Alibaba was the fourth-largest cloud computing service provider in the world, behind Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.