Kicking off a week in which it plans to encourage American businesses to invest in China, Alibaba Group announced plans to give something back to the cloud computing community: Alibaba Cloud is now a member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
The Chinese internet giant plans to join the CNCF as a Gold member, putting it on the same level as rival Tencent. The CNCF, which is working to improve adoption of modern cloud-native software development technologies without setting standards, said in a statement that it was looking forward to more open-source contributions from the international cloud community.
Alibaba may not be a household name in the U.S., unless your household sells servers or enterprise computing technology. Nearly half a billion people — mostly in China — use one of Alibaba’s many services, from ecommerce to streaming video, and Intel has dubbed the company one of its “super seven” data center customers. The company is holding an event in Detroit this week with founder and executive chairman Jack Ma to pitch China as a source of new revenue for American businesses.
Alibaba Cloud is the leading cloud computing service in China, although it does face competition from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft there. On a global basis, it trails AWS, Microsoft, and Google by some margin, but Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant report ranked it above more established U.S. cloud services like IBM and Oracle based on its belief in Alibaba’s ability to execute its cloud strategy.
It’s definitely a significant addition for the CNCF, which now has a second source of cloud computing expertise in China through which to promote its member projects, most notably the Kubernetes container-orchestration project.