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

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

Lingyang starts life with assets tailored from tools developed for Alibaba’s own extensive operations, which span e-commerce, a public cloud, logistics, web portals, payments and more.

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

Now these tools have been produced for Lingyang to sell.

At a launch event, Alibaba executives discussed Lingyang’s prospects as an enterprise data service provider for Chinese companies.

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

The new company’s offerings cover an analytics cloud, marketing cloud, production and sales cloud, customer service cloud, and business development cloud.

This combination makes Lingyang a potential competitor to Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and perhaps even Microsoft Dynamics. Many BI and analytics vendors also seem to have a new player to worry about.

Lingyang was reportedly capitalized with a modest 50 million yen ($7.5 million) and made up of employees from Alibaba units who contributed code and expertise to the spin-off.

Investors have recently begun to worry about whether Alibaba’s best days are behind them, as the combination of a saturated domestic market, Beijing’s restrictions on its web giants, vigorous local competition and China’s cooling of foreign buyers have all caused the company problems and seen its slow growth.

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

But as if to punctuate yesterday’s launch, two of Alibaba’s rivals – e-tailer JD.com and Tencent – today announced a new collaboration. Tencent will continue to ensure that JD’s content is featured prominently on its hugely popular social media services. This means Tencent avoids being called a monopoly – a practice Beijing abhors – and JD gets a wider audience. ®

Veronica J. Snell