Cloud Computing

With IPO, China’s Alibaba Could Become Serious Competitor to Global Cloud Providers

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Alibaba Group, a Chinese company known for ecommerce but also for the impressive cloud infrastructure that underpins it, has filed registration documents to be publicly traded in the US in what some speculate could be among the largest initial public offerings the US has ever seen.

In its filing this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Alibaba used $1 billion as a placeholder figure for an IPO that many expect could raise more than $15 billion. Analysts estimate to be worth around $170 billion in total.

If approved, Alibaba could be trading on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq Global Market within the next few months.

Alibaba is best known as a digital marketplace, and often described as China’s version of Amazon. Amazon leverages its cloud infrastructure and expertise into Amazon Web Services, and, likewise, Alibaba has a cloud division, Aliyun, which is beginning to offer cloud services internationally.

Alibaba is known as an innovative business in the Chinese market and it is seen to be blazing a trail for other Chinese businesses. Further success could help loosen Chinese policies that would make it difficult for them to participate fully in the global market.

More funding could also mean cloud technology acquisitions for Alibaba, with bought Dropbox-like storage provider Kanbox last year.

With new funding, a strengthened Alibaba could become a major cloud services provider on the global stage, but at the same time make it harder for competing businesses to enter the Chinese market and succeed.


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About the Author

David Hamilton is a technology journalist and Contributing Editor of the WHIR. Based in Toronto, David has covered the hosting industry internationally for the WHIR with particular attention to innovative hosting solutions and the issues facing the industry. He has written for the National Post and other news outlets, and is a graduate of Queen’s University and the Humber College School of Media Studies.

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