Language Technology / Technical Writing

Alibaba Cloud – Quality English Supports Sky-High Ambitions

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Although Alibaba Cloud’s $254 million in revenues for 2016 still trails behind Amazon Web Services’ $11 billion, Alibaba Cloud is on a clear path to stand beside Microsoft’s Azure and AWS to dominate the Cloud market as a member of the 3As. Alibaba Cloud knows that these ambitious goals can only be met if they provide their customers with clear and easy-to-use user interfaces and documentation.

Alibaba’s international expansion followed a strategic roadmap. When Alibaba Cloud launched its first US cloud data center in March 2015, the cloud division focused on developing Chinese corporations and businesses with US interests as clients. Now that this foundation is in place, Alibaba Cloud is positioning itself to seize its share of a market that will be worth $236 billion by 2020. The company aims to surpass AWS in customers, technology, or scale, by 2019. To carve out space in English-speaking markets, Alibaba Cloud needs to make sure its written material is ready for international customers.

English-language markets have high standards for documentation and interface language. As we at CSOFT know, the costs of poor documentation can be devastating. If companies provide English documentation that contains mistakes or errors, consumers assume that the quality of the product is poor, and ultimately decide that the brand is not trustworthy. If the language is confusing or hard to understand then customers will give up and choose another vendor, no matter how good the pricing and quality of the product really are. This phenomenon, which is often encountered by Chinese companies entering international markets, can create a bias against made-in-China products. Under the ‘China bias’, even when Chinese companies produce good products and design good services, Western consumers do not trust them nor buy them. This is because majority of companies ignore or neglect the most important sign of brand quality: the quality of the English language used in their documentation.

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Alibaba Cloud understands that the quality of their English documentation will make or break them in the coming battle for cloud market share. It has taken thorough and significant steps to ensure the quality of the English in its documentation. These investments support its growth in international markets, and combine with the opening of four more international data centers, to build its international presence. Predictions are that Alibaba Cloud will see triple-digit growth again in 2017, and we predict that Alibaba’s investment in quality English documentation will contribute to a large percentage of this pay off.

Written by Anna Millman – Technical Writer at CSOFT International

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CSOFT International is a translation, localization, and globalization services provider that helps international businesses reach out to customers around the world.

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