Alibaba Cloud launched in 2009 and now has 52 international data centers. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip
Alibaba Cloud launched in 2009 and now has 52 international data centers. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

Alibaba Cloud has taken its Blockchain as a Service (BAAS) suite of products global.

The service, that uses Alibaba’s own Ant Blockchain platform alongside technology from IBM’s industry-leading Hyperledger Fabric network, was initially launched, for China only, in October 2017. This week Alibaba Cloud, the Chinese e-commerce giant’s cloud computing arm, announced the service is now also available across Asia, the US and Europe.

The service offers “an enterprise-level platform service based on leading blockchain technologies,” that, according to Alibaba, “helps customers build a secure and stable environment for blockchain implementations.”

The overall aim of the platform, said Yi Li, Senior Staff Engineer and lead of Alibaba Cloud Blockchain Service during the launch announcement, is to “become a technology partner that enables companies that wish to use blockchain to accelerate their digital transformation.”

Executive Director of Hyperledger Brian Behlendorf added that the international roll out of the platform will bring “more exciting innovations to the global blockchain communities,” saying that “2018 is set to be another blockbuster year for the industry.”

The BAAS offer includes what Alibaba describe as an “automatic deployment” service as well as the creation of blockchain management systems and smart contract and user certificates. The platform can, say its developers, also aid the development of “software development kit applications” while delivering a range of “monitoring, operating, and maintenance functions.”

Since its launch last year the platform has found applications, says Alibaba, mainly for Chinese logistics and medical industries. The platform will now be available in 19 regions around the world via a network of 52 Alibaba data centres.

Alibaba Cloud this week added two UK data centers to its international portfolio that, according to Alibaba Cloud’s EMEA general manager, Yeming Wang, will use “AI-powered and data-driven technology” to deliver a range of services that include “machine learning capabilities to predictive data analytics.”

Alibaba Cloud launched in 2009 and now claims to be the largest provider of public cloud services in China and the third largest in the world. Alibaba has been investing in blockchain technology for many years and in 2017 it reportedly held 10 percent of all global blockchain patents, more than any other company.

In the same year, more than half the world’s 406 blockchain-related patents were reported to have come from China.

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