Alibaba has agreed an 11 year partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to supply cloud infrastructure and services to the organisation and to create a global e-commerce platform for Olympic merchandise.
The Chinese giant will serve every winter and summer Olympic Games until 2028, starting with the winter edition in Pyeongchang, South Korea next year, and the IOC claims the ‘best in class’ technology will help the Olympics operate more efficiently and securely.
The deal will also support the IOC’s ambition to harness the power of big data analytics and help the spread of the Olympic Channel, which has been a pet project of IOC President Thomas Bach.
Read more: Who are China’s tech giants?
Given the absence of many major tech firms in China and the popularity of local services, Alibaba’s local market experience will be crucial if the channel is to expand to the country.
“In this new digital world, Alibaba is uniquely positioned to help the IOC achieve a variety of key objectives outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020, while positively shaping the future of the Olympic Movement,” said Bach at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
“This is a ground-breaking, innovative alliance, and will help drive efficiencies in the organisation of the Olympic Games through 2028, whilst also supporting the global development of digital opportunities including the Olympic Channel.”
“We are proud to support Olympic Agenda 2020, using our innovations and technologies to help evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era,” added Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
Like Amazon, Alibaba started life as an ecommerce site back in 1999 before expanding into cloud services. AliCloud has been growing rapidly and is considered a rival to western cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is rapidly pushing AliCloud out of China into markets like the Middle East where AWS’ expansion has been slower.
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