Alibaba Cloud held its first ever cloud summit in Malaysia yesterday, showcasing the cloud provider’s leading-edge solutions to help Malaysian enterprises accelerate their digital transformation. The Alibaba Cloud Summit Kuala Lumpur 2019 drew strong participation from executives representing Malaysia’s top companies, industry leaders and tech experts, so much so that registration had to be closed well in advance due to overwhelming response.
Distinguished guests who attended the summit included Surina Shukri, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy Cooperation (MDEC); Dato' Hj Mohd Redza Shah Abdul Wahid, CEO of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad; Muzzaffar Othman, CTO of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB); Calvin Chee, VP of Enterprise Application Development & Integration (IT), Genting Malaysia; Syahrunizam Samsudin, CEO of Touch N’ GO; Patrick Khoo, CIO of Averis Sdn Bhd, RGE Group; Kanags Surendran, Head of Transforming Customer Journeys for CIMB; and Selina Yuan, VP of Alibaba Group, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International.
The morning’s keynote session was kicked off by MDEC CEO, Surina Shukri, who said, “Technology serves as a powerful enabler to uplift society and improve the standard of living. Using technology to ensure easy access to affordable and effective financial services is critical to create balance in the society and achieve financial inclusion. We hope more companies within the ecosystem adopt technologies that not only increase their business effectiveness, but also play a role in doing good for the community.”
And technology was certainly the order of the day, with the exhibition area filled with demonstrations of Alibaba Cloud’s own technology offerings as well as how it is providing the backend and complementary technologies for a wide variety of companies; consisting of both customers and partners, including the likes of Touch N’ GO, Fortinet, Taobao, AirAsia, CIMB and Cainiao.
Besides its cloud and AI-driven technologies, Alibaba Cloud also shared the best practices that the company has accumulated over the last two decades from the Alibaba ecosystem, to further empower Malaysian businesses to transform the way they market, sell, operate and succeed in the digital era. There were also breakout sessions which covered practical insights and success stories to enable enterprises and SMEs to accelerate their business transformation.
The overarching focus of the summit was to engage with what Alibaba terms as the “future makers” of Malaysia.
In the midst of all the controlled chaos, DSA was able to pry away Selina Yuan, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International, from her busy schedule for a brief interview. When we asked her why the particular focus on future makers for the Malaysian leg of the Alibaba Cloud Summit, she said, “In Malaysia, around half of the population is between the ages of 15 to 35. Therefore, it really is a very young nation with a lot of creative ideas and very open to the leading technologies.”
Selina believes that Alibaba Cloud itself is very young and that similarity makes it a good match for Malaysia going forward. “We think we are also really young like Malaysia and we are both aiming to do something different (from the traditional). We are both very creative and very innovative.”
She attributes Alibaba Cloud’s meteoric rise in recent years to become among the biggest global cloud providers to the fact that it is the backbone that runs and supports all the different segments within Alibaba Group’s diverse technology ecosystem. “I think this is very important because it means that we not only have very strong leading technology; All of these technologies and cloud services are closely combined together with a business model or business scenario. So it’s very attractive to our customers and partners,” Selina explained.
Furthermore, she added that in the digital era, many enterprises are facing the challenge of making their business going. Alibaba Cloud’s mission has been to support them so that they are able to overcome the challenges of digitalisation with its leading internet technologies enhanced by the Alibaba Damo Academy.
Last but not least, she said, “I think the main reason is we’re very open to our partners. The open ecosystem is a very important strategy for us globally.” At present, Alibaba Cloud has one of the largest infrastructure networks in the Asia Pacific region, with operations in 56 availability zones across 19 regions globally, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Japan in Asia Pacific markets.
But from a Malaysian perspective, she emphasised that Alibaba Cloud is really “in Malaysia, for Malaysia”. As testament to that, it is currently the only global cloud provider with local data centres in Malaysia. The company also launched its first cloud-based Anti-DDoS Scrubbing Centre in Malaysia in 2018 to serve the region.
During her own opening keynote address, Selina also said, “Since the establishment of our first local data centre in Malaysia, Alibaba Cloud has been paving the way to support local businesses to accelerate their digital transformation. As the No.1 cloud provider in Asia Pacific, we want to continue to promote inclusiveness through technology, so that customers can experience a world-class cloud system in terms of reliability, security, efficiency and interconnectivity.”
At the summit, Alibaba Cloud also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad, one of the leading Islamic banks in Malaysia, in their effort to digitally transform, enable better access to financial services using technology, and tackle challenges of security and compliance that are typically found in the banking industry.