A Bridge between University Portals and Students
China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Is catching on the new business opportunity generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Alibaba is helping foreign universities skirt China’s stringent internet controls to keep classes going for their Mainland Chinese students. After the virus prompted campuses to shut, many Chinese students returned home. They are having difficulty of watching live-stream tutorials or accessing class materials due to the Great Firewall– that blocks websites that government deems sensitive as well as slows down the loading speeds of accessible overseas-based sites. University associations reported that, soon after the virus started spreading globally, Alibaba’s cloud met with member institutions and pitched access to a network that could be established within 48 hours and acts as a bridge between Universities’ portals and Mainland Chinese students.
Meeting the Students’ Needs
This network is a unique proposition by Alibaba Cloud, the biggest cloud service provider in China by market share. “This is a good initiative to gain more spending among these organizations that will increasingly offer a blend of online and offline course content,” said Analyst Matthew Ball at Canalys. Number of Chinese students studying abroad was 662,100 in 2018, according to the statistics. Moreover, Alibaba is courting foreign institutions at the time of deteriorating diplomatic relations between China and the West over a slew of issues including trade, virus prevention, and Hong Kong security, plus a US campaign to bar Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from next-generation telecommunication networks on security grounds. “During the challenging time of coronavirus, cloud-based technologies play an important role to help people adopt to the new normal. Our technology offers a solution to meet an important need for students to continue with their studies. This should not be mixed with any political affairs,” said Alibaba Cloud.