Alibaba launches data-as-a-service company • The Register

Chinese tech giant Alibaba has launched a company called Lingyang Intelligent Service Company that aims to provide “data-as-a-service”.

Lingyang begins life with assets customized from tools built for Alibaba’s own extensive operations that span e-commerce, a public cloud, logistics, web portals, payments, and more.

The Chinese company has over 1.3 billion active customers annually – more than a billion in China. Serving all of these customers – and their many transactions – required the development of some pretty nifty tools.

Now these tools have been produced for sale by Lingyang.

At a launch event, Alibaba executives discussed Lingyang’s prospects as a provider of enterprise data services to Chinese companies.

Executives also tried to position Lingyang as a “data-as-a-service” company, not just another SaaS provider.

The new company’s offering includes a cloud analytics service, a marketing cloud, a production and sales cloud, a customer service cloud, and a business development cloud.

That combination makes Lingyang a potential competitor to Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and maybe even Microsoft’s Dynamics outfit. Many BI and analytics vendors also seem to have a new player to worry about.

Lingyang was reportedly capitalized at a modest 50 million yen ($7.5 million) and staffed by employees from Alibaba’s entities that contributed code and expertise to the spin-off.

Investors have been worrying lately whether Alibaba’s best days are over, as the combination of a saturated home market, Beijing’s restrictions on its web giants, fierce local competition, and cooling foreign buyers has plagued the company and seen its growth slow.

The mere launch of a major new business in enterprise software suggests the company has a trick or two up its sleeve and has found a niche that Beijing may not object to.

But as if to punctuate yesterday’s launch, two of Alibaba’s competitors — e-tailer and Tencent — announced another collaboration today. Tencent will continue to ensure that JD’s content features prominently on its hugely popular social media services. That means Tencent avoids being labeled a monopolist — a practice Beijing abhors — and reaches a wider audience for JD. ® Alibaba launches data-as-a-service company • The Register

Chrissy Callahan

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