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International Olympic Committee embarks on 12-year cloud partnership with Alibaba

Chinese cloud services provider Alibaba agrees to supply the Olympic Games organisers with cloud infrastructure and services until 2028

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has embarked on a multi-year cloud services partnership with Chinese service provider Alibaba that is set to run until 2028.

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) challenger will be responsible for providing the IOC with access to cloud infrastructure and services to help the Olympic Games run more efficiently and assist its organisers with addressing their big data requirements.

The arrangement forms part of a wider sponsorship deal between the two firms that will also see Alibaba draw on its background in online retail to create an e-commerce platform for Olympic stakeholders to sell official merchandise from the games worldwide.

Furthermore, Alibaba will also be responsible for the development of an Olympic broadcast channel featuring content designed specifically to appeal to a Chinese audience.

The partnership was announced on 19 January 2017 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

During a conference call, to discuss the announcement, Timo Lumme, managing director of television and marketing services at the IOC, said the deal was part of the organisation’s commitment to delivering on contents of the Olympics Agenda 2020 strategy roadmap.

The document features 40 recommendations, designed to help preserve the “uniqueness” of the Olympic Games, and the adoption of digital technologies is central to this, said Lumme.

“We need the best-in-class leaders in the digital world, so this really is the rationale for the deal with Alibaba,” he said. “This is a key development for us in the organisation and management of the Olympic Games.”

Alibaba’s cloud infrastructure will be used to underpin the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang in South Korea, as well as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Beijing Winter Games. 

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Its technology will also be used during the 2024, 2026 and 2028 Summer and Winter Olympics, the locations of which are yet to have been announced.

Alibaba has made a concerted effort of late to build awareness of its brand outside of its native China, and woo enterprise cloud users with a series of announcements about its plans to build out its global datacentre footprint.

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said the two organisations share a lot of common ground, particularly when it comes to connecting people around the world.

“Alibaba’s partnership with the IOC is built on a foundation of shared values and a common vision for connecting the world and enriching people’s lives,” he said.

“We are proud to support Olympic Agenda 2020, using our innovations and technologies to help evolve the Olympic Games for the digital era.” ... ... ... ... ... ...

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