Business / Gadgets

Alibaba to ride mobile tide in e-commerce

By HE WEI in Shanghai ( Updated: 2014-02-28 19:13

Mobile business is the next focal point for China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, the company's chairman Jack Ma said in a letter to employees on Friday.

"Mobile e-commerce is set to become the most important area in the mobile Internet age, and the key is the combination of the upper end of cloud and lower end of mobile apps," Ma wrote, adding that Alibaba is prepared to stay agile simultaneously on both ends.

In the past five years, Alibaba has leveraged cloud computing and so-called "big data" to establish the world's largest and most comprehensive database for commodities, users and transactions. It also backs the world's largest payment platform as well as the fastest cloud-computing platform.

To ride the mobile tide, Alibaba "must move to data technology with hundreds of millions of customers" in a scenario where mobile terminals activate the cloud and the cloud enriches the mobile apps, he noted.

Ma said the company's 10-year goal was "building infrastructure for China's business development in the data technology era". Alibaba plans to create a low-cost, high efficiency business atmosphere that allows more people to participate and make rules, he said.

Alibaba has been locked in head-to-head competition with archrival Tencent Holdings since 2013. Each is attempting to expand into the other's traditional space.

"What we worry about is not Tencent's WeChat red envelope (a popular payment service to circulate cash among friends) or several mobile access points. We should bear in mind that myriad Chinese enterprises are eager to embrace wireless business in the next three years," Ma said.

In its latest move, Alibaba decided to pour $820 million into helping build a "smart city" with advanced computing facilities on China's southernmost island province of Hainan.

Alibaba's cloud computing unit will provide Hainan's provincial government, its residents and tourists with cloud computing and big-data services, while building e-government and urban management platforms to digitize public services.


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