At the very minimum, there is definitely a sense of haste in everything that’s going on across the country.
From crane construction to buildings, facilities and campuses seemingly popping up out of nowhere, the entire city is somewhat of a living timelapse. The scenery and landscape change on a daily basis.
Entering Cloud Town, the Alibaba Cloud Services HQ is an experience in itself.
Airport style security is your first port of call followed by the scanning of your QR code, lined up with auto addition to a facial recognition database. Your face serves as your right of passage for the remainder of the conference, and it’s incomprehensibly fast.
Suffice to say my chances of ever becoming a secret agent are now well and truly doused.
Once you do make it past the checkpoint though, you’re welcomed into a display of technology like no other.
We’re greeted by endless walls of data, information, statistics and analytics provided by endless giant displays running at lightning-fast speeds, served up by Alibaba Data Centers.
Robotic lights flicker with movement, automated delivery vehicles are at the ready and unknown brands of electric vehicles light up, ready to go.
China is well ahead in the electric car race.
In fact, in Hangzhou, all petrol motorbikes are off the road, replaced by battery powered. Instead of the noisy buzz of regular engines, they are replaced by the futuristic hum that harmonises with electric vehicles.
Automatic, sensor-driven retail shelving makes way for the need of sales people on the floor, with complete stats, information and size ready to go.
As soon as you choose a shoe (or other product, voila! Track size, colour, comfort, rating and other meaningful stats and either pick up today or order to your home. It’s a real back to the future moment.
While many of the treats on display feature new advances in business-related technology, there was also a very obvious focus on people.
Take a look at this new AI technology to assist in turning rivers from filthy, rubbish laden flows into clear, re-inhabited waterways.
Teaching One Million Women and Girls in Africa to Code.“Iamthocode”, in partnership with Alibaba, will enable one million females to be provided with education in cloud computing, data analysis, and artificial technology fields.
So what about learning technologies?
EdTech is a big field for Alibaba and one they are getting more involved in both domestically and abroad.
Alibaba is actively engaging organisations to make their educational software available on the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace, meaning organisations will have access to the large Chinese market to move their products.
Reaching more regionseCreators have recently translated their Learnbook, Multi-Tenancy, eCommerce and soon Orto products into the local language to make them available to the Chinese community.
This will provide local, regionalised services for China, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and beyond, in the users chosen dialect in the powerhouse Alibaba infrastructure.
We’ll be the first to offer such services on the Alibaba platform, which is exciting for both partners and a great win for the consumer.
In addition, we’ll also be inviting our technology and customer partners to get involved in hosting and deploying their products into the new and emerging ASEAN markets – our closest trade partners. More about this soon.
Overall, having spent time in both the USA and China, the gap between capability and technological progression is narrow. New, disruptive innovation is coming through as is incremental innovation, making our products, the way we purchase goods and interact with each other better and better.
The consumer can be the winner – if you choose the right tools.
Take a look at this video by South China Morning Post for more!