Cloud computing giant announces new A100 strategic partnership program
Alibaba is taking the first steps toward forming a global technology channel through the announcement of its new A100 strategic partnership program, which offers a limited number of partners the resources to digitally transform their businesses and penetrate new markets.
The Details: Alibaba, the rival on the global stage to the United States’ Amazon in marketplaces and cloud computing, is targeting enterprise companies that want to expand their cloud presence in its core China and Asia markets. The model appears to work similarly to the Amazon Web Services model, in which enterprises either host existing applications or use provided development resources to convert applications to the hosted environment.
The Impact: With the new initiative, Alibaba is making clear its intentions to expand its global reach. The initial A100 program likely won’t touch many solution providers or managed service providers directly. The greater likelihood is that A100 users will engage global systems integrators and managed service providers to develop and manage their Alibaba cloud instances, similar to the way partners work around AWS. In essence, an ecosystem of supporting partners will spring up around Alibaba.
Background: In North America and Europe, companies such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google – often referred to as “FAANG” – dominate the digital economy. Of course, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and other companies have a significant presence as well – particularly Microsoft, which dominates the cloud channel and is second only to Amazon in Web services. On the global stage, however, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent – all China-based companies – are the chief pioneers of the digital economy. While all have a presence outside China, they’re strongest in their home market, fueled by a burgeoning middle class. Alibaba’s moving out into the global market is an inevitability, which means it will eventually engage channel partners in a significant way.
The Buzz: “Many partners have gained enhanced operational efficiency and business growth through a deep partnership with Alibaba,” said Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang. “Synergies generated by our ecosystem are creating new avenues for sales and distribution, and catalyzing product innovation to capture opportunities in lifestyle upgrades across China. We look forward to adding many more global and Chinese domestic companies to the A100 strategic partnership program in the near future.”
Counterpoint: In China, Alibaba is a trusted brand and service provider. In other parts of the world, enterprises and technology providers view Alibaba with skepticism. The trust issues are reminiscent of those surrounding Huawei Technologies, which is often accused of embedding back doors into equipment and creating security issues. Mainly, though, American and Western companies express concern about their ability to work with Alibaba without being overwhelmed by its market power. Concerns about losing leverage aren’t exclusive to Alibaba, however, as the same companies often express similar reservations about Amazon.
Channelnomics Point of View: Alibaba’s A100 program is worth watching as the company looks to lure more enterprise users and their partners to China. Alibaba will not stay in China, though, and will look to export its model and resources to other markets. Alibaba could create a new opportunity for systems integrators and managed service providers, similarly to the way Amazon created an entire development and support ecosystem around its cloud services.