Alibaba Group Holding has created a new subsidiary called Lingyang Intelligent Service Co to help companies in their digital transformation, a move that deepens the Chinese e-commerce giant’s pivot to the enterprise market.

The new business unit, which pulls together existing digital capabilities within the Hangzhou-based firm, represents “an important step for Alibaba after thoughtful consideration”, company chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang Yong said in a statement on June 29.

The new subsidiary will provide “data-intelligence-as-a-service” to help enterprises in decision-making and operational efficiency. Alibaba coined that marketing term to distinguish what Lingyang offers from software-as-a-service, a long-standing enterprise delivery model in which software is accessed online via subscription.

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The core team of Lingyang “knows the best about data” in Alibaba, according to the company’s statement, because they have supported many major events like the annual Singles’ Day shopping festival. They will now provide solutions to enterprises across different industries by leveraging the expertise of Alibaba, owner of the South China Morning Post, in applying data intelligence to manufacturing, marketing and various services.

Alibaba Group Holding vice-president Peng Xinyu leads the online launch of new subsidiary Lingyang Intelligent Service Co on June 29, 2022. Photo: Weibo alt=Alibaba Group Holding vice-president Peng Xinyu leads the online launch of new subsidiary Lingyang Intelligent Service Co on June 29, 2022. Photo: Weibo>

Alibaba vice-president Peng Xinyu, an expert in corporate data management, serves as chief executive at the new subsidiary.

At present, Lingyang’s 11 core products include Dataphin, Bizphin, Quick Audience, Quick BI (for business intelligence0, Business Adviser and Operation Adviser.

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Lingyang, which means antelope in Chinese, adds a new member to Alibaba’s well-known “zoo”. The company’s business units are named after animals or insects, including retail chain Freshippo and financial technology affiliate Ant Group.

The new subsidiary’s launch reflects Alibaba’s effort to engage new market segments and industries, as online retail competition intensifies in its home market amid weak consumer spending and a flagging economy.

Alibaba has already been expanding its reach into the enterprise services market though cloud computing unit Alibaba Cloud.

Cloud computing services enable companies to buy, sell, lease or distribute a range of software and other digital resources as an on-demand service over the internet, just like electricity from a power grid. These resources are managed inside data centres.

Alibaba Cloud, which offers cloud computing services in 25 regions around the world, recently reported that it turned in a full-year profit for the first time in 13 years. The firm posted a 1.1 billion yuan (US$164 million) profit for the 12 months to March 31, its first such result since 2009.

In the first quarter, Alibaba Cloud had a market-leading 37 per cent revenue share of the country’s US$27.4 billion cloud infrastructure services sector, according to a report by tech research firm Canalys.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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