Alibaba Cloud to be presenting partner of Fifa Club World Cup until 2022

Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud, has high hopes for joint venture and thinks the annual tournament featuring champions of all six confederations could come to China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 4:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 November, 2017, 4:54pm

Alibaba Cloud has been selected as the “Presenting Partner of the Fifa Club World Cup”, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group announced on Wednesday.

The annual tournament features all its six confederations’ champions.

The partnership with Fifa will last until 2022, with Alibaba Cloud, the biggest provider of public cloud services in China, investing millions of dollars in the event.

Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud, said he had high hopes for the joint venture, which would combine soccer and technology to further bolster the sport’s impact on the public.

“Sports nowadays is more than people just buying a ticket to watch the game in a stadium,” he said. “With the help of innovation technology, especially the advancement of internet knowledge, we can do a lot more things and perhaps this is why Fifa is willing to work with us.

“ “By becoming a major partner of the tournament, we hope to show how our technology can bring new aspects of fun and enjoyment to sports fans, including those people who might have had barriers to access or participate before. This is the true meaning of inclusive technology.”

Hu said he would not rule out the possibility of the tournament being held in China some time in the future.

“China has a strong domestic market and soccer is welcomed by most of the sports fans. Bringing the tournament here can work wonders in terms of marketing and promotion of soccer among the younger generation,” he said.

Fifa’s director of marketing sales and strategy, Iain Downie, also saw great benefit through the collaboration. “We are aware of the substantial value that Alibaba Cloud provides to business in terms of technical support and global reaching services. We can only see great potential in this fresh collaboration related to our Club World Cup,” he said.

The Club World Cup is Fifa’s most important club event, with this year’s edition of the tournament due to kick off in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Powerhouses Real Madrid have already qualified as the reigning European champions, along with Wydad Casablanca of Morocco representing Africa, Concacaf representatives Pachuca of Mexico, Oceania’s Auckland City and Al Jazira of the host nation. The Asian and South American champions will be confirmed soon.

Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.