E-commerce giant Alibaba Group
has entered into a joint venture with its largest shareholder SoftBank Group Corp
to extend its cloud-computing services business to Japanese customers. The joint-venture, called SB Cloud Corp, will be headquartered in Tokyo.
It has been revealed that Alibaba will own 60% of the venture, Softbank 40%, but financial terms were kept discreet and it wasn’t clear when these Japanese cloud services would become available.
“We look forward to helping more Japanese companies grow their business with our secure, scalable and innovative cloud computing services,” said Ethan Yu Sicheng, the vice-president at Alibaba Cloud.
The newly formed company will open a data center in Japan to offer data storage, cloud security services, processing solutions, and middleware offerings. It will target into Japanese customers of SoftBank ranging from startups to large corporations.
This collaboration gives Alibaba direct access to SoftBank’s existing customer base. The new venture will use technologies and solutions from Alibaba Cloud
— the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group — helping the Chinese e-commerce giant expand at an exponential rate. These offerings include data storage and processing services, enterprise-level middleware and cloud security services.
“I believe the joint venture team can develop the most advanced cloud platform for Japanese customers, as well as for multinational customers who want to use the resources we have available in Japan,” said Eric Gan, an executive vice-president at SoftBank and the recently appointed chief executive of SB Cloud.
With this move, Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba has sent a strong signal to the likes of Microsoft and Amazon that they have a serious challenger in the cloud space. However, this isn’t the first alliance between the two companies. Last year, SoftBank, Alibaba and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group announced the launch of a robotics joint venture.
SoftBank owns 32% of Alibaba’s stake, and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma have been longtime friends. SoftBank already extends its cloud services to corporations, expanding its clientele overseas and diversifying its business into media, entertainment, and cloud to reduce its reliance on the Chinese e-commerce market.