Alibaba has taken its cloud startup scheme global for the first time, launching the service in Singapore with a US$10,000 credit for selected startups. Valid for a year, the coupon can be used to purchase any service on the Chinese vendor’s Aliyun cloud platform, according to Yu Sicheng, vice president of Alibaba Cloud. Top-performing startups would be offered a higher US$18,000 credit, he added.
Startups would be selected based on a set of prerequisites that the company was still finalising and would be made available via its website when ready. A similar startup program was launched in China in March 2015, pulling in more than 40 venture capital and investment funds, according to Alibaba. To date, the initiative had funded nearly 10,000 startup projects and partners more than 200 incubators in the Chinese market.
Having established a cloud footprint in China, Alibaba had been looking to replicate its success in other global markets, he said, pointing to the “same market space” in which Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google currently played.
Asked if it was looking to extend the startup program to other markets in the region, Yu said it was “closely monitoring” Asean countries including Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, which offered “huge growth potential” for the company. Its aim was to enter these markets eventually and would be looking to establish local data center partnerships as well as other industry partners, he added.
It currently operates a cloud data center in Singapore, which also serves as the international headquarters for its cloud business, and has plans to set up a second facility in the city-state slated to be finalised next quarter. Yu said it recently inked a partnership with a telco in Singapore, but was unable to reveal more details until the official announcement was ready.