Alibaba Cloud to launch M'sian innovation centre, a boost to startups, SMEs

  • To help startups grow in Malaysia, train 30,000 local professionals
  • Working with Malaysian local partner Handsprofit to bring local expertise

Alibaba Cloud to launch M'sian innovation centre, a boost to startups, SMEsALIBABA Cloud has announced that it will launch an Alibaba Cloud Innovation Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, an effort aimed at providing a “conducive environment” for startups to grow in Malaysia.

The company also hopes to train 30,000 local professionals in the coming fiscal year in the country to “strengthen its local talent development commitment,” the China-based cloud giant said in a statement.

The KL Alibaba Cloud Innovation Centre is set to be the first located outside of China, and forms part of Alibaba Cloud’s Project AsiaForward initiative, which was announced during the recent Alibaba Cloud Summit 2021.

Under Project AsiaForward, Alibaba Cloud said that it will invest US$1 billion in funding and resources over the next three years, with the goal of fostering one million digital talents, empower 100,000 developers, and accelerate the growth of 100,000 tech startups across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

“Alibaba Cloud is committed to investing into Malaysia’s digital future. And opening our first ever international innovation centre in Malaysia, is a testament to our longstanding commitment to the country,” Selina Yuan (pic, above), general manager, international business unit, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

“With the innovation centre, we hope to help businesses in Malaysia to not only survive and thrive during the pandemic, but also provide a conducive environment to nurture local talents, preparing them to embrace the digital future.”

Alibaba Cloud said startups in fintech, banking, internet, retail, and IT service industries can benefit the most from the upcoming innovation centre.

Besides receiving technology and business training, members joining the innovation centre will also have the chance to interact with experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts, who can serve as mentors to guide startups or introduce them to venture capitals.

In order to facilitate these startups’ business expansion, Alibaba Cloud said it will offer subsidised office space, co-branding and networking opportunities, in addition to cross border business opportunities between Malaysia and China, through its China Gateway Program.

Besides this, Alibaba Cloud announced that it is working with Malaysian local partner Handsprofit to bring their local expertise to the innovation centre, ensuring its smooth operation with strong local connections.

“We hope to work with Alibaba Cloud closely to help startups and small and medium enterprise (SMEs) embrace the challenges brought about by COVID-19 in a positive manner.

“With Alibaba Cloud’s robust global technology infrastructure and rich business ecosystem, we believe the innovation center can play a key role in helping Malaysian businesses transform to embrace a digital post-pandemic era,” said Lim Wern Siang, managing director of Handsprofit. 

Going forward with Asia

Alibaba Cloud’s Project AsiaForward includes other investments across the region. In the Philippines, the company is set to launch its first data centre by the end of this year.

In Indonesia, Alibaba Cloud has officially launched their third datacenter and have started to serve customers with offerings across database, security, network, machine learning and data analytics services.

The additional centre allows Alibaba Cloud to better support local businesses interested in adopting cloud technology and advance Indonesia’s push for a digital society.

Alibaba Cloud currently operates 75 availability zones in 24 regions around the world, the company said.

According to the company, Alibaba Cloud’s talent development efforts are embedded in three core programs: DigiTalents Forward, focused on digital upskilling; AI Forward, targeting developers; and DigiEntrepreneurs Forward, aimed at connecting promising business ideas with venture capital and real-life opportunities.

The company has also kicked off the DigiTalents Forward programme in Singapore with the School of Computer Science and Engineering (SCSE), and NTU-Alibaba Singapore Joint Research Institute (JRI) at Nanyang Technological University.

The parties are planning to launch a variety of AI courses under NTU’s MiniMasters programme, it added.

“Our strategic roadmap for Asia includes targeted investments to facilitate the digital transformation of local businesses. We see these investments as all the more timely given the impact of the pandemic and the sharp rise in demand for digital business tools,” said Yuan.

“Equally important is our focus on talent development and nurturing a digitally-competent workforce, which we see as a key challenge for many businesses to overcome going forward.”


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