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Under pressure: Alibaba rushes out its Internet-of-things platform before its looming IPO

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Alibaba, which is about to make the world’s largest-ever IPO, seems to have a hand in every game. But there’s one area where it comes up lacking — and its competitors have taken good advantage.

JD.com, one of the largest online retailers and marketplaces in China, is launching a could-based service for smart hardware today, as we reported earlier. JD launched an app that will be able to control all the smart devices by manufacturers who adopt the communication protocols and sign up to its services. JD has had many Chinese electronics manufacturers on board that include Haier, TCL, Huawei, Lenovo, and Haisense.

We heard a while ago that Aliyun, the cloud services division of Alibaba Group, was developing services similar to those offered by JD+, an initiative to support smart hardware makers and their products which is referred to by JD as an incubation program. Today Aliyun showed us this website which is called Ali-Internet-of-things platform, or Alink.

Similar to JD’s, Alibaba’s service offers up its marketing and distribution channels, tech support for app development, and, of course, cloud services served under the Aliyun brand. What different offerings Alibaba has include Alipay, one the most popular online payment services in China, and the Taobao login/identity management system. Alibaba also touts that makers using their services will be able to use location data from AutoNavi, the mapping company acquired by Alibaba, and weather data through the partnership with the state weather authority, which are not available with JD.

But so far, when it comes to Internet of things and connected devices tech, all Alibaba has is a website.

JD, on the other hand, has become one of the first online retail platforms makers from China and overseas would turn to as it has proven ability to help sell products. JD has invested in WiFi solution provider Broadlink and some products to help them grow.

Before this Alink project, Alibaba reached partnership with Chinese home appliances makers such as Midea and TCL, who said they’d use Aliyun’s cloud services.

This story originally appeared on TechNode.


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