Ma walks the talk - Aliyun gets SAR startups going
Updated: 2015-06-16 07:03
By Felix Gao in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
Aliyun - Alibaba's cloud-computing arm - is optimistic over the development of Hong Kong's IT industry, as the city has advantages in telecommunications infrastructure and a variety of financing methods. Photo / IC
Mainland e-commerce magnate Jack Ma Yun - one of Asia's richest men - is making good on his promises to help aspiring young Hong Kong people get off the ground in business and motivate them in creativity.
Right on the heels of his Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd launching a HK$1 billion fund earlier this year to help budding Hong Kong entrepreneurs fund their startups and tap the vast mainland market, Aliyun - the group's cloud-computing arm - is starting a series of services and supporting measures in the SAR for local startups.
Aliyun said on Monday it will explore collaboration opportunities with the city's incubator and venture capital funds to provide cloud-computing services and technology training support for promising startups. It will also accept localized payment methods - customers can purchase Aliyun's services and products with their Hong Kong bank cards.
In addition, Aliyun will host a "Founder+" program - an initiative that offers selected startups with a wide range of support, including free hardware, funding, office space, marketing services and connection with and guidance from investors - for the first time in Hong Kong later this year. The aim is to help young businesses further explore market opportunities on the mainland.
Enterprises chosen for the program will also have a chance to get investment from Alibaba Group.
"Hong Kong marks Aliyun's expansion foray outside the mainland, and it has always been one of the most important markets for us," said Yu Sicheng, Aliyun's vice-president, "Hong Kong has many excellent startups, including those in gaming, mobile and finance sectors that long for secure, stable and efficient cloud-computing solutions. By offering localized hybrid computing services, we hope to help Hong Kong startups expand their business more rapidly and efficiently."
Yu said Hong Kong is a good springboard for enterprises to enter the Southeast Asian market, and Aliyun expects to help Hong Kong small-and-medium enterprises to develop overseas business in the next three years.
The company is optimistic over the development of Hong Kong's information-technology industry, as the city has advantages in telecommunications infrastructure and a variety of financing methods. "A number of international telecommunications companies have hubs in Hong Kong. The city is also the intersection of a plurality of fiber-optic cables," Yu said.
Aliyun established its first data center in Hong Kong in cooperation with Towngas Telecommunications Co Ltd - a wholly-owned subsidiary of tycoon Lee Shau-kee's Hong Kong and China Gas Co Ltd - in May last year. Yu said the center is close to full load due to strong demand, and a second similar facility is in the cards.
Aliyun operates more than 10 data centers in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao and Shenzhen, and plans to expand to Silicon Valley and Dubai.
It announced last Monday the launch of Marketplace Alliance Program - a global partnership program that provides enterprises with access to Aliyun's full suite of cloud-computing services. Its initial local partners include Towngas Telecom and PCCW Ltd - the holding company of Richard Li Tzar-kai's HKT Group Holdings Ltd.
(HK Edition 06/16/2015 page9)