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Alibaba Cloud to invest USD 1 billion in APAC

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing subsidiary of Jack Ma’s ecommerce titan Alibaba, has launched an initiative aimed at investing an initial US$1 billion of funding and resources to empower 100,000 developers and foster the growth of 100,000 tech startups in Asia Pacific over the next three years.

Called Project AsiaForward, the initiative is part of Alibaba Cloud’s strategy to invest in infrastructure, tech innovation, and talent development to contribute to the region’s local economic growth through digital transformation.

As part of the project, Alibaba Cloud will launch its first data center in the Philippines by the end of the year, focusing on the banking, fintech, retail, logistics, and education sectors, among others. It will also establish its first international innovation center in Malaysia and offer an innovation enablement platform for small businesses in the country in partnership with local firm Handsprofit.

Alibaba Cloud also plans on launching its third data center in Indonesia to serve customers in the database, security, network, machine learning, and data analytics service industries.

“Innovative technology is critical to the recovery from Covid-19, while a strong pipeline of talent well-versed in digital applications is needed to support the sustainable development of today’s digital economy,” said Alibaba Cloud Intelligence president Jeff Zhang.

According to Zhang, the company has seen an increased demand for cloud-based technologies in emerging verticals like ecommerce, fintech, and logistics in the Asia Pacific.

In line with this, Alibaba concurrently announced the launch of an ecommerce livestreaming solution catered to global merchants of all sizes. Built on Alibaba Cloud’s content delivery networks, which has over 2,800 points in over 70 countries, the offering will leverage the company’s large-scale and distributed real-time video processing technology.

The company has also kicked off the DigiTalents Forward program in Singapore with Nanyang Technological University, which aims to upskill students that will soon enter the workforce.

DigiTalents Forward is part of Alibaba Cloud’s three core programs for talent development, sitting alongside AI Forward, which targets developers, and DigiEntrepreneurs Forward, aimed at connecting promising business ideas with VCs and real-life opportunities. TechinAsia

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