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Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, held recently in Abu Dhabi its inaugural Middle East and Africa (MEA) Internet Summit in partnership with UAE-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Computing leader Group 42. Telecom Review had the chance to speak to Selina Yuan, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International to discuss cloud adoption and Alibaba Cloud’s presence in the Middle East.

Why did Alibaba Cloud choose to hold its first Ghyma conference in Abu Dhabi?

We have been present in the region since 2016 and we have achieved great progress so far. Every year since 2016, we hold a startup contest in Dubai and we have been participating in GITEX since 2017.

Group 42, which is headquartered here in Abu Dhabi, is one of our partners, that’s why we decided to hold our first Ghyma conference here.

In addition, Abu Dhabi is very active in terms of technology and startups so we think it was a very good choice to organize the conference here.    

What does the portfolio of Alibaba Cloud encompass?

Alibaba Cloud’s global data centers cover 20 regions. Alibaba specializes in e-commerce, entertainment and Fintech and all of these technologies are supported by Alibaba Cloud. We’re also working on innovative programs with our partners in fields like smart healthcare. We have today an open ecosystem program strategy and our partners can use Alibaba Cloud to explore the solutions we offer in different industries.

How is Alibaba Cloud contributing to the development of the region?

Alibaba Cloud organizes enablement programs in the region that provide training to technicians and engineers to know more about the public cloud, such as the Alibaba Certification Program (ACP) which engineers and developers can receive after finishing the program.

We also have our data centers here and we provide our partners and customers with the needed support through collective solutions offered in different industries.

How can enterprises leverage the cloud to achieve digital goals? What role can Alibaba Cloud play here?

For traditional enterprises, the IT part is what matters the most. Alibaba Cloud can help move their investment from the private cloud to the public cloud. So they already have their public cloud platform there and don’t have to make more investments by themselves. This is very important for SMEs at the beginning of their journeys.

Moreover, enterprises can benefit from our cloud platform and technology immediately which will allow them to access the newest technology products.

We also have strong security products which can help protect our customers. Alibaba is ranked number 1 in terms of preventing cyber attacks and we want to share our security solutions with our customers. Internet-based solutions were introduced to defend customers from cyber attacks and work as antidotes here. Alibaba’s home-born internet-based technology provides critical backbone to all Alibaba business units. We’re providing now this technology to our partners and we’re empowering digital industries.

Do you think that the adoption of cloud technology in the Middle East can be a driver of the diversification from oil-based revenues?

It’s more than just cloud, it’s actually about data now which is considered the new oil. A lot of companies don’t know how to analyze the data they have already generated so this is where we help them realize what kind of intelligence and insight to give to the business.

Where do you see cloud adoption in the coming years globally and in the ME region in particular?

We are very determinant to assist our partners here and our mission is to make things easy to do business anywhere in the world. In the MEA region, we’re pursuing the same mission to support the SMEs’ digitization. We’re ranked number 3 globally, and number one in the APAC region according to Gartner, and we’ll continue to grow.

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