By Karamjit Singh October 1, 2019
Spread across 10 countries, ranging from tiny Brunei with over 120,000 citizens to the over 250 million in Indonesia, spread over almost 13,500 islands, the ASEAN region is one of the most diverse and dynamic in the world.
A Nov 2014 report by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that the region will rank as the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050. A more grabbing data point from that McKinsey study though is the estimate that increasing deployment of disruptive technologies, cloud technology in particular, could result in up to US$625 billion in annual economic impact by 2030 in the region of 620 million people.
Seizing onto this opportunity, the world’s top cloud computing providers have made a beeline into Asia and serve the region’s hungry and aggressive businesses.
Count Amazon, Google, Microsoft and enterprise giants like SAP, Oracle, Cisco in the mix. Oh, and count one more player, Alibaba Cloud, which launched its cloud business in 2009.
A key driver of this adoption would be the region’s enterprises and emerging startups. In a 2017 report, “A Cloud For Doing Good” the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy estimates that SMEs make up 95% of all businesses in ASEAN, and generate between 23% to 58% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while employing from a low of 57% to as high as 91% of the labour force in ASEAN countries. These SMEs contributed between 10% to 30% of national exports.
While ASEAN growing enterprises are known to suffer from poor productivity, this is where “A Cloud For Doing Good” has identified that cloud computing, with its advantages of flexibility, speed to deploy, pay-as-you-use and simplicity, as an ideal platform for the region’s cost conscious enterprises which are always wary of forking out upfront capital costs.
And while there are no publicly available reports of the ASEAN market share, research outfit Gartner produced a “Market Share: IT Services 2018” report that showed Alibaba Cloud dominating the Asia Pacific market with its IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and IUS (Infrastructure Utility Services) with 19.6% market share, followed by AWS (Amazon Web Services) at 11% and Microsoft Azure at 8%.
What is known about ASEAN though is that among these three global cloud providers, Alibaba Cloud has doubled down on its cloud ambitions in the region by opening a second data centre in Malaysia, following the opening of its first data centre in early 2018.
Its in-country presence in both Malaysia and Indonesia, where it opened a data centre in 2018, makes it the first global player to have data centres in both these countries.
This not only has allowed Alibaba Cloud to have a more compelling proposition to the market, but for those verticals constrained by data regulations, the in-country data centres make it easy for CTO/CIOs to adopt Alibaba Cloud for their organizations. Its ASEAN footprint is backed by a global footprint which sees Alibaba Cloud having 61 availability zones across 20 regions worldwide.
Its two availability zones in Malaysia allow it to provide high availability and strengthen disaster recovery capabilities, allowing customers to deploy mission-critical workloads in multiple availability zones and switch over within seconds.
In ASEAN, Alibaba Cloud empowers its clients to power their digital innovation through comprehensive solutions and strong client servicing which local businesses can adapt and learn from in charting their way forward.
In Indonesia and Malaysia, companies can benefit from Alibaba Cloud’s extensive products and solutions, ranging from Elastic Computing, Database, Storage & CDN, to Networking. (see chart for comprehensive list)
Companies from travel leader AirAsia group to entertainment leader Genting Group, to leading digital wallet provider TNG Digital in Malaysia and Indonesian internet pioneer, Indonet to ASEAN eCommerce leader, Lazada Indonesia, have partnered with Alibaba Cloud and continue to enjoy its world class services and support.
In Malaysia, it has coined the term #MyFutureMaker to brand its engagement with customers as it helps them become more innovative in capturing opportunities brought about my digital disruption.
With its prowess in handling mission critical, high volume transactions, as exemplified by the US$30.8 billion worth of single day transactions during its 11.11 Alibaba Global Shopping Festival 2018, it is easy to understand why market leading companies in ASEAN trust Alibaba Cloud.
For Alibaba Cloud, while big name customers may grab the headlines, its focus in ASEAN is also centred on the region’s growing small to medium sizes enterprises and startups, which in Malaysia, make up 98.5% of all business establishments.
Its in-country teams play as much an advocacy and education role as they do in sales and marketing, recognising that a more concerted effort needs to be done to sell the clear value cloud computing offers businesses and governments in the region.
Indeed, the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy comes to the same conclusion ie that more concerted effort is needed in ASEAN to address the barriers that impede the widespread adoption of cloud computing. These barriers include a lack of awareness about the technology, data localization requirements and privacy and cybersecurity concerns.
Alibaba Cloud is already doing such market engagement in its dual prong educate and partner approach to leveraging on cloud services to business success.