June 20, 2017

Alibaba expands into European AI cloud market

Seeking to take on Amazon and Microsoft, Alibaba will launch its cloud computing product Maxcompute in Europe.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plan on entering the European cloud computing market in Q3 2017 by launching their flagship AI cloud platform ‘Maxcompute’. Alibaba aim to tap into the rapidly growing European cloud space, Alibaba’s cloud division is certain their product will challenge the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Salesforce .

The ‘MaxCompute’ platform handles large amounts of data, allowing organizations to make predictions in real-time. Alibaba Cloud claims that it can process around 1 petabyte (1,000,000 GB) of data. This, they say, is possible through Maxcompute’s use of advanced AI and deep learning technology, combined with predictive algorithms for analytics, cloud-modeling and big data storage.

An example of Maxcompute’s everyday application in China shows that the product was used by the Guangdong province to analyze traffic, enabling civil planners to make decisions on when to change the traffic lights more efficiently, in real-time. This led to a large reduction in traffic jams, particularly during rush hour.

Alibaba cloud scientist Wanli Min, responsible for AI and data mining, said:

With this system, you can prevent the traffic jam from happening in the first place. As for European businesses, Maxcompute can unlock the immense value of their data, using a highly secure and scalable cloud infrastructure and AI programs. I think clearly this technology could be a good partner for some big players in this market.

Having established a data center in Germany last year, Alibaba has been working on access to the EU cloud market for a considerable time. Alibaba have not yet divulged the details of their European customer base, but say they are in discussions with several interested organizations. Alibaba did not disclose the pricing for the product either, but said customers would pay depending on their usage.

Alibaba’s cloud business has been evolving rapidly. The number of paying customers in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016 stood at 874,000, up from 513,000 the year before.

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