A veteran of Microsoft has been tabbed by Alibaba Cloud to drive the company's Alicloud big data and artificial intelligence teams. Zhou Jingren was part of the Microsoft team that work on the Bing search engine and was the chief scientists for Redmond's big data division.
Alicloud is Alibaba's cloud service that is growing in popularity in China. It already has 500,000 customers taking advantage of cloud-computing solutions, storage, and security. Jingren will help to take the service to the next level as the head of the company's cloud operations, which are based in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Seattle.
Microsoft itself has been trying to tap into the Chinese market and cloud is still a growing industry in the country, so could represent a big opportunity for the company's Azure platform. However, Alibaba will be a long term rival due to its size and resources within China.
In its report, the Wall Street Journal cites data from Morgan Stanley that suggests the cloud will become an important business for Alibaba. We have already seen the cloud transform Microsoft's prospects in recent years and current CEO Satya Nadella has pushed the company into a cloud first enterprise.
Alibaba can follow a similar path and Morgan Stanley says the cloud will become one of the company's “most significant value drivers.”
Mr. Zhou will bring a lot of expertise to the company as it attempt to bolster and grow its cloud service output. He said that his team will seek to help Alicloud manage its big data and find ways in which the company's cloud solutions can be used by enterprise customers.
Zhou served as a researcher for Microsoft between 2004 and 2008, before moving to become Partner Development Manager / Architect – Bing.com Infrastructure. He later headed the big data infrastructure for Redmond between 2013 and 2015.