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When talking about the potential of ecommerce, the real opportunity isn’t in the saturated B2C sector, but it’s almost hidden in B2B.

The sector is pegged to grow more than twice as much as B2C globally by 2020 and expected to generate $6.7 trillion of revenue but in most Southeast Asian markets, it doesn’t nearly get as much as attention.

The ECOMScape series shows only a few players have dabbled in B2B and in Indonesia, one of them is Ralali, the country’s first B2B ecommerce marketplace, founded in 2013 by current CEO, Joseph Aditya.

The company’s beginning

Launched at a time when most existing websites were catalogs, Ralali generated IDR 10 billion or $750,000 in revenue during its first six months selling industrial supplies to manufacturers, contractors, and automotive businesses.

Ralali B2

The company’s early robust growth attracted the attention of investors and in May 2014, Ralali bagged an undisclosed amount of seed funding from East Ventures and raised another $2.5 million from Beenos Plaza and Cyber Agent Ventures a year later in June 2015.

With financial backing in hand, Ralali was set to expand its business further but the company, once specialised in MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operational) products and office supplies, soon found that the current business model was not scalable.

“There is simply not enough reason for big companies to completely shift their procurement process online. And the problem with having big companies as a main source source of revenue is that it’s a huge risk if one decides to go elsewhere,” explains Aditya.

Ralali decided to change its strategy to be able to scale up at the rate they wanted to.

Reaching an untapped source

While assessing the pool of potential customers, they found a glaring source of untapped potential in Indonesia — small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

In Indonesia, the latest data shows that out of all the country’s registered businesses, big enterprises only make up less than 1%. The rest – or almost 58 million companies – are SMEs and they contribute 58.92% of total GDP.

The government has also expressed its support through digitalization.

The problem, however, was and is that most of these businesses are still stuck offline – only 9% have dabbled in ecommerce and only 37% have basic online capabilities.

But this wasn’t the only reason Aditya shifted his focus to SMEs, he also wanted to help even out the playing field.

“As a tech company, we are working to make life simpler and to empower more people to become efficient. Targeting the big corporations with their already vast and readily available resources, is not gonna make much impact to their business. It’s unlike the impact we could make with SMEs,” says Aditya.

With this in mind, Ralali shifted its focus to cater to SMEs and began making the adjustments needed to achieve this goal.

Business starts here

To attract more SMEs, Ralali began introducing new features like the RFQ (Request for Quotation) and included more categories on their website by expanding its SKUs. As of today, there are more than 200,000 SKUs listed under 61 sub-categories in 12 categories available on Ralali, from Machinery & Industrial Parts to Food & Beverage.

“When you’re a big company, vendors are practically queueing outside your office to get your business and you have the pick of the lot. SMEs rarely have any bargaining power,” commented Aditya.

The RFQ feature allows SMEs to select from a variety of offers made from vendors on the Ralali platform so they can find the best option for their business needs. It also helps Ralali determine what customers want in order to optimize its product selection.

Facilitating SMEs to further their business

To become the supplier choice for SMEs, Ralali changed its model to a wholesale marketplace allowing other suppliers to offer bulk purchases on its platform with tier pricing.

Ralali B2B SMEs

Right now, there are more than 3,200 suppliers registered on the platform. The company is continually scouting for sellers through offline activities with various business associations and communities geared towards educating SMEs about the benefits of digitizing.

Ralali facilitated annual transactions are worth more than $150 million or IDR 200 billion, with a basket size per transaction ranging around $1,500-2,000.

Despite focusing on SMEs, big corporations make up for 3-5% of customers for the marketplace.

Empowering the SMEs ecosystem

Not only is the company selling to small, medium sized businesses, it is also providing the skills and knowledge needed to take the first steps online.

The company recently signed a partnership with the Jakarta Cooperatives, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise and Trade Agency to help its members expand their businesses online.

Under the partnership, Ralali will provide training and assistance to the SMEs for one full year. Aditya says a team of Ralali consultants are going to share insights on the workings of an online marketplace and how to set up a business on the platform.

“By doing this training, we hope to help these smaller businesses increase their transactions online. Ralali wants to be the platform that connects businesses from Indonesia to all over the world,” shared Aditya.

Ralali B2B SMEs

founder Joseph Aditya (second from right) with the representative from the Jakarta Cooperatives, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise and Trade Agency

With Alibaba’s acquisition of Lazada and Southeast Asia’s mirror-like ecosystem to that of China, it’s no surprise that the region’s more popular marketplace is moving towards a more Tmall-like model.

The largest sign being the opportunity for brands to design their own shop-in-shop – called Tmall flagship stores in China. They drive on-site traffic and simply optimizing shop-in-shop text and images can lead to maximum conversions.

In this article, we look at some best practices from popular Tmall flagship stores in China and explore opportunities for brands to improve their shop-in-shop performance on marketplaces in Southeast Asia, specifically Lazada.

Best Practices for Shop-in-Shops: Learnings from China

Tmall’s shop-in-shop concept called flagship stores – 天猫旗舰店 in Chinese – became officially available to brands in 2010. Ever since then, global and local brands and retailers have opened their own branded stores on China’s biggest ecommerce platform.

They include Apple, P&G, Estee Lauder as well as retailers like Costco, Macy’s and even Amazon.

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

P&G store on Tmall

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Apple Tmall store

With the help of official TPs (Taobao Partners), agencies who help brands design and operate flagship stores, Tmall stores in China have undergone a massive transformation.

Although every brand has a unique Tmall flagship store identity, there are several patterns that successful brands employ that could be applied to marketplace presence in Southeast Asia, whether today or in the near future. They include:

  1. Bundling
  2. Rich, often video, content for branding, testimonials/social proof, and product tutorials/walkthroughs
  3. Coupons and promotions
  4. Flash sales and time-based offers
  5. Live chat (often split between pre-sales and post-sales live chat)
  6. Reviews management
  7. Unique store design
  8. Product detail page optimization (text, graphics)

Bundling

Bundling is a very common concept on Tmall brand stores because it helps brands achieve three things:

  1. Address channel-conflict, usually online, by creating ‘new’ products by combining them together into a single SKU.
  2. Increases average order values (AOVs) to offset delivery costs. This is frequently applied by CPGs such as Unilever, P&G and Coca-Cola whose products, if sold in single units, wouldn’t make sense for ecommerce.
  3. Quickly testing new product combinations and their traction. For offline retail, it often takes months to get new SKUs into the distribution chain and then another few months to get feedback from customers.
Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Example of P&G product bundling

Rich content for branding, testimonials/social proof, and product tutorials/walkthroughs

Tmall flagship stores have evolved over the last decade to become a viable alternative to brands’ creating their own ecommerce sites. Nowadays, Tmall allows brands to soup up their stores with not only banners and graphics but also more engaging videos.

Why is this important? Because viewers can be 64-85% more likely to purchase after watching a product video.

Below are examples of Estée Lauder and Johnson’s Baby using video on their Tmall flagship store homepages.

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Estée Lauder home page on Tmall rich in content

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Johnson & Johnson informative home page on Tmall

Coupons and Promotions

What is Tmall without promotions? Neutrogena’s flagship store has a dedicated section for coupons that can be redeemed and applied right away to increase chances of a browser converting.

Neutrogena coupons on Tmall flagship store

 

Johnson & Johnson’s Aveeno brand offers customers a chance to enter a lucky draw for each purchase.

P&G offers customers a gift set if they spend over 159 RMB, approximately $23.

Flash sales and time-based offers

Aveeno offers 50% off for buyers in the first 5 minute of its flash sale, limited to 1,000 units.

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Live chat (often split between pre-sales and post-sales live chat)

Often credited as one of the reasons why Alibaba/Taobao was able to defeat eBay in China is live chat. Since the early days, Taobao offered a way for customers to talk directly to merchants through it’s WangWang chat platform.

When Tmall spun off from Taobao, WangWang was also applied to the B2B2C Tmall model. Nowadays, customers can login and chat directly with the customer service reps of a brand’s Tmall flagship store.

Neutrogena offers dedicated chat lines for pre-sales and post-sales live chat.

Lazada Shop-in-ShopReview management

Tmall allows customers to leave reviews after their purchase and also for merchants to reply to their customers. This offers brands a way to manage their online reputation – something most brands have engaged TPs to help manage due to high volumes.

Below is an example of Neutrogena’s TP helping address a customer’s negative review.

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Store design

Having a great-looking and brand-aligned store design can mean the difference between a high and low conversion rate. In China, brands often engage TPs to help them not only manage but also design and decorate their stores.

Adidas’ Tmall flagship store design follows its brand guidelines so customers browsing the store will feel like they’re on the Adidas.com official brand site.

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

 

Product detail page optimization (text, graphics)

Product detail pages (PDP) don’t have to be bland and boring. Tmall’s official stores have taken PDP design to the next level by including high-res images, videos, customer reviews, company details/history, and much more. All this is to help increasing conversion rates by providing customers with as many relevant details as possible as well as establishing trust through brand consistency and social proof.

Left: Tide product detail page on P&G Tmall flagship store

Right: Tide product detail page on P&G Lazada Philippines shop-in-shop

Which one has a higher conversion rate?

Lazada Shop-in-Shop

Best Practices for Shop-in-Shops in Southeast Asia

Obviously, Chinese ecommerce and Tmall are several years ahead of Southeast Asia. However, as Lazada is already moving towards a Tmall model and offering more and more features to brands operating shop-in-shops, there are several best practices that can already be implemented for brands to benefit from:

  1. Brand-centric store design
  2. Rich (video) content
  3. Product detail page optimization (text, graphics)
  4. Onsite SEO
  5. Live chat
  6. Product sampling

Brand-centric store design

Launched as early as 2013, Maybelline was one of the first shop-in-shops on Lazada. As one of the pioneering brands in Thailand ecommerce, Maybelline’s Lazada shop-in-shop store design arguably is the most sophisticated, offering high-res, brand-aligned banners and creatives as well as video content.

Lazada Shop-in-ShopRich (video) content

Lazada offers YouTube video embeds that Maybelline has used to feature campaign and branding videos. Others like La Roche Posay are leveraging videos to explain how to use their products via walkthroughs.

Product detail page optimization (text, graphics)

Brands on Lazada still under perform in terms of PDP optimization. Most SKUs use only a few lines to describe the product and only a few brands have utilized images or videos to spruce up content.

Maybelline PDP on its Lazada Thailand shop-in-shop

Maybelline PDP on Tmall flagship store

Again, which one would convert better?

Onsite SEO

To gain organic traffic coming from Google and also from Lazada, brands should increase the amount of text on their homepage, category and product detail pages. Some of this is done by Lazada but brands should be actively driving this process, either directly or via partners.

Below is an example of the Maybelline Lazada Indonesia shop with footer text optimized for SEO.

 

Live chat

Live chat is pretty much the default standard on Tmall flagship stores but only a few brands are offering it on their Lazada shop-in-shops. One example is La Roche Posay who recently piloted a live chat feature on its Thailand Lazada shop-in-shop for a short trial period that has since ended.

 

Product sampling

Another unique feature that’s currently being piloted on some Lazada shop-in-shops is product sampling. Purina One’s shop on Lazada has a link out to a form where users can sign up to receive free samples. This is a great way for brands to not only acquire new users for their CRM database but also increase the exposure of new products.

As ecommerce continues to develop in our region, more brands are faced with the choice to set up on popular marketplaces or build their own brand.com website.

Setting up shop on marketplaces is more than simply uploading product pictures and hoping for a sale – it requires a similar strategy to setting up a brand.com. Businesses on marketplaces shouldn’t forget about the variety of tools available to them to influence sales and conversion rates and can either choose to do this themselves or partner with a specialist, “TP” in Southeast Asia.


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The Philippines often comes second by various factors when compared to its peers in Southeast Asia. It’s the second most populous country in the region after Indonesia with 103 million civilians. It’s also the second poorest country after Vietnam and currently has the second smallest ecommerce market at $0.5 billion.

Google & Temasek predicted a rosy future for the Philippines’ ecommerce market to become bigger than that of Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia by 2025 at $9.7 billion.

However, there are several signs indicating online retail has a long way to go before it picks up in the country:

  • Low ecommerce spending
  • Lack of local ecommerce players
  • Slow internet

Can the Philippines’ ecommerce actually reach its predicted potential? We take a deeper look at some of the reasons why it will be challenging.

First, the good things

The Philippines population is projected to increase by 13% to 116 million by 2025, presenting a bigger market for businesses to sell their products.

Beneficial for ecommerce growth is also the 10 million Filipinos living and working overseas.

Around 3.5 million of them work and live in the US, which has advanced their online shopping behaviour and paved the way for innovative cross-border logistics businesses offering deliveries from the US to the Philippines.

Overseas workers have also facilitated the birth of many digital payments businesses in the country as they send remittances home to their family.

Filipino overseas workers sent home $29.7 billion in 2015.

These money transfers have made the Philippines the top third remittance-receiving country in the world after India and China and spurted the growth of fintech startups providing transfer services, such as Ayannah, Coins.ph, BloomSolutions, using blockchain technology to serve the unbanked.

The innovative payments and logistics solutions work in favor for ecommerce development as online companies are dependent on the ease of payments and the efficiency of logistics networks for speedy delivery to attract customers.

As a result, Lazada, the Southeast Asia’s marketplace for everything, ranks as the 7th most visited website in the Philippines.

No money, no honey?

Despite the mentioned factors, ecommerce has not yet picked up as quickly in the Philippines as it has elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Although 30 million people reported shopping online in 2016, the Philippines has the lowest average annual retail ecommerce spending per person.  

A Filipino spent on average $33 shopping online in 2016.

Even the Vietnamese, who are the poorest of Southeast Asian nations spent 67% more per person shopping online and Malaysians with two times less online shoppers spent twice as much as Filipinos in 2016.

According to Statista, people shopping online in the Philippines are expected to increase by 42% to 48.8 million in the next five years and the average annual spend on ecommerce per person will reach only $48 in 2021.

For comparison, the Vietnamese are expected to spend on average $96 and Malaysians – $129 in 2021.

Where are the local players?

Low online spending per person is not inspiring local businesses to invest in ecommerce  as seen by presence of a few local ecommerce players.

The Philippines is a market where Southeast Asia’s darling Lazada is dominating ecommerce with around 40 million monthly visits.

Local ecommerce players, be it marketplaces or vertical webstores, are not even close to Lazada in terms of number of visitors.

And overall, the competition is rather thin in any category but more brands are working to capture the growing ecommerce potential.

There are a few first movers that are choosing a full ecommerce strategy such as local telecommunications service provider Globe Telecom and retail brand Bench, or global brands Payless ShoeSource and Adidas, and performing quite well. It’s also common for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers such as SM Store to open a shop-in-shop on Lazada to test the ecommerce waters first before investing in a brand.com strategy.

Slow and slower

Filipinos are connected to and browsing the second slowest internet connection in the Asia Pacific region. While a speedy internet doesn’t guarantee strong ecommerce behavior, it does impact a good user experience. Who would be willing to browse for a new phone or a pair of shoes if it takes ages to load pictures and product descriptions?

On top of this, the country ranks lowest among its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of ease of doing business because of slow and complex procedures of starting a business, enforcing contracts and protecting minority investors, which doesn’t help to boost online trade either.

So how to reach its golden potential?

While the large population, familiarity with cross-border deliveries and digital payments offers a great foundation for ecommerce growth, projections of its future market growth greatly vary.

Statista projects the Philippines ecommerce will reach only $2.345 billion in 2021 making the country the smallest of markets in Southeast Asia, while Google and Temasek expect the market to be $9.7 billion by 2025.

The difference will depend on the number of first-movers that kick off the snowball effect.

Recently Ayala Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the country, acquired a 49% stake in online fashion retailer Zalora Philippines. The group hopes its footprint in banking, real estate and telecommunications will generate synergies throughout the ecommerce value chain.

If the takeover proves successful, it could inspire others to follow and contribute to ecommerce growth.

To increase ecommerce growth in the country, there are several things needed to be done. Some of the issues are up to the Philippines government, such as increasing the internet speed by breaking the existing telecommunications market duopoly and opening it up to competition or easing the company registration process.

There are few things businesses themselves can also do to add to the growth:

  1. Invest in market education to explain how ecommerce works and provides convenience
  2. Training workshops for small and medium sized sellers, as well as larger traditional players can nudge more businesses to explore different channels for sales
  3. Improving security of their sites and adding secure payment methods to build trust   between businesses and consumers concerned about fraud
  4. Attract more customers online by selling ‘lifestyle’ services, insurance, etc.

The collaborative effort in the entire ecosystem between brands, retailers, service providers, logistics players, marketing agencies, consumers, etc. will help take the Philippines ecommerce market to the billions.

By: Aija Krutaine
We recently shared Google Consumer Barometer data that showed on average, stores and showrooms are still the most common places where 51% Southeast Asians discover new products.

39% of other consumers start their product journey online. Where exactly are they going to look for items online? Read more

More brands in Southeast Asia are looking to adopt “dot com” strategies for a direct-to-consumer approach. Why? It allows them to establish a stronger brand identity, customize a more personable online experience and obtain customer data to keep optimizing their ecommerce cycle.

But it’s not cheap to build a website and with so many software options on the market, how can a brand that is only beginning to go online make an informed decision? The right technology allows scalability whereas the wrong one will require more maintenance sucking both time and money.

eIQ sits down with Mandy Arbilo, Senior Project Manager at aCommerce, Southeast Asia’s leading ecommerce service provider, to discuss what brands should take into account when choosing between the two most popular platforms currently on the market, Magento and Commerce Cloud (previously Demandware).

Both enable medium to large brands and retailers to sell products online, but which one is the right fit for your company?

Magento

Suitable For: Small-Medium sized business (with GMV of $0-20 million) to global brands, used by Nike and Thai fashion brand CPS Chaps

  • Magento Community is the free basic version and open-source, pay only for “extensions” (more on this later)
  • Magento Enterprise starts at $20,000 annual fee (includes abandon cart feature and support)
  • Compare the two more in-depth here

Estimated Budget: $20,000 – $250,000 depending on added features

Time to Build a Fully Functional Site: 2 to 4 months

Why should you consider Magento?

Magento’s software, both Community and Enterprise, is a cost effective solution for brands that want to test their traction online before spending more dollars on a website with all the bells and whistles.

For smaller scale brands, they will most likely use Magento Community as it requires little maintenance and is the most basic and budget friendly software currently on the market. Theoretically, Magento can accommodate millions of SKUs ,but the software is not optimized enough to handle that much. The more complex your site becomes, the more resources it will require for Magento to maintain an appropriate level of site performance. 

The two programs are fundamentally similar with the key difference being the $20,000 annual fee. Another key difference is security – Community does not have highly secure payment bridges whereas the Enterprise version does.

But extensions make a huge difference to what your site will be able to do, regardless of the version.

This is what Magento’s core architecture looks like:

By altering parts of Magento’s core technology, the basic functions of the website can be changed to provide a better browsing experience for customers

For example:

If a brand wants to collect a database of customers through a signup on its website, the default criteria would be: name, email address and home address. Adding an extension to the core architecture will allow brands to target a specific audience and create personalized marketing campaigns such as birthday discounts or Facebook re-targeting.

The ‘Shop By’ column on the left is the product of core modification on Magento where brands can add sub-filters so that customers can narrow the product search.

Key functions & features

    • Magento Marketplace: 7,500+ extensions that allow brands to enhance the site with i.e. blog section, flash sales tool, product zoom feature, etc. The price of an extension can range from $0 to $20, and over $200
    • API integration: Magento allows brands to use API to perform a number of tasks such as integration with the content management system (CMS), customer relationship management system (CRM) or mobile apps
    • Themes: Magento allows brands to install design layouts to the website without altering the core code files section that could cause errors
    • Centralized management: Magento allows brands to run multiple stores with one back-end system. This means that a company can have three brand sites and manage all customers, products and categories from one platform
    • Pricing system: Magento allows for flexible pricing options that can be used as marketing schemes i.e. buy item #1 and get 50% discount with free shipping, etc.

An example of some available extensions to be purchased or download for free on Magento Marketplace

What are extensions?

Extensions can be likened to apps on Apple’s iTunes store. When you have an iPhone, the basic core such as “notes, contacts, camera” are pre-installed. A user usually wants to install extra features to supplement the core offerings to turn their iPhone into for example, a sleep tracker. Extensions have been used by the following companies:

Nike’s multi-image view function and social sharing button are powered by Magento. The website is easy to navigate for users, hence benefitting the brand’s conversion rate.

 

The ‘pick-up in store’ extension for Magento will allow customers to collect their item at a store instead of having it delivered home.

 

An example of how the ‘pick up in store’ extension would be applied on a web page

Some free recommended extensions for brands on Magento are Shipworks, a function that tracks order status and currently is being used by carriers such as DHL and FedEx and Yotpo for a reviews feature.

Commerce Cloud

Suitable For: Bigger brands that want to expand their online presence to other countries. Ex. Adidas GMV of 10-500 million

Estimated Budget: $250,000 – 600,000 annual fee

Time to Build a Fully Functional Site: 6 to 8 months

Why should you consider Commerce Cloud?

Commerce Cloud is known for its security and reliability, which is partly why the software is not as flexible when it comes to customization. A brand that is using the Commerce Cloud is investing in a long term ecommerce strategy and should have a 10 year plan for the brand’s online visibility, partly because of the software’s price but also because a cloud system allows you to scale without much storage restriction.

For example, global brands such as Clarins launched an online website in China and Japan with Commerce Cloud.

 

This is what Cloud Commerce’s core architecture looks like:

Commerce Cloud is fully hosted, which means that the task of hosting its services and maintenance is handled by the company and not the brands using it. But then users cannot modify the core structure to the extent that they can with Magento.

Adidas’s website is powered by Commerce Cloud. The customized email pop-up aims to encourage customer sign-up.

Key functions & features

    • Commerce Cloud Marketplace: A one-stop shop like the Magento Marketplace where users can go to purchase website extensions
    • API integration: Tightly integrated system that allows brands to sell across multiple websites with one backend
    • Centralized management: Can link channels from mobile to website together to simplify operations, sales and fulfilment. This function is also available with Magento Enterprise but Commerce Cloud handles the development and integration
    • Flexible shopping options for customer: The software lets brands offer in-store pickup, ship from store, etc. All included in the price as opposed to purchasing additional extensions for Magento.
    • Cloud integration: Commerce Cloud can integrate with the company’s offline stores. Store associates can show shoppers the inventory across all the brand’s stores. An advanced predictive intelligence feature provides insights on ‘total’ customers and ‘little data’ for an individual customer so brands can hyper-personalize campaigns.

 

The choice between Magento and Commerce Cloud comes down to three key factors: budget, scalability and brand positioning. For brands testing the market at a small scale and require more customization and control, Magento is better suited as a kickstarter ecommerce software.

If a brand is growing rapidly with clear expansion goals in mind and high SKUs, they should consider using Commerce Cloud as there will be very little maintenance required so the company can focus on growing in multiple markets.

Unsurprisingly, the right software is essential to a successful online strategy. Find out more about aCommerce web development here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Grab is in the process of buying Indonesian payment firm Kudo

Uber’s Southeast Asia rival Grab is in the process of buying up Indonesia-based online payment startup Kudo in its first major acquisition.

Payments are a central focus to Grab’s push, as it is a way to differentiate itself from Uber and local rival Go-Jek, which raised $550 million last year, but also because it can help win business from millions of unbanked citizens and provide a solution in the market.

Not only is Kudo focused on Indonesia, but it directly enables those without a credit card, bank account or event internet access to buy online. Initially it used point-of-sale kiosks located in public areas, but it later broadened its focus to support an agent model.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Vietnam’s Tiki looks to raise $60m in series D funding

Vietnamese ecommerce major Tiki is looking to raise a series D round of $50-60 million which is expected to close this year. Founded in 2010 as a book selling platform, Tiki did not comment when asked on the proposed Series D funding.

Part of the fundraising  is expected to be used to pare its loss. The company has recorded VD255 billion in losses since VNG Corporation’s investment until the end of last fiscal.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Recommended Reading: With cloud, Alibaba follows the ‘build it and they will come’ approach

Alibaba quietly announced that Alibaba Cloud service has already doubled the capacity of its Hong Kong based data center in order to meet fast increasing demand in the Asia-Pacific region. The company said that the expansion in Hong Kong is part of its master plan to eventually expand into providing cloud services the world over.

 The worldwide cloud services market was projected to grow 16.5% in 2016 to total $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015. Alibaba Cloud has operations in 14 global economic centers including mainland China, Singapore and the U.S, in addition to Hong Kong.

 

Read the rest of the story here.