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Welcome to our support website for the business case “Alibaba in Blockchain: Integrating Blockchain-based Remittances into Cloud Services”.

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When Alibaba, China’s leading digital platform and cloud-based services company, fails to acquire the US firm Moneygram, CEO Jack Ma decides to go it alone and develop a digital strategy using blockchain technology as the basis for a global remittance service, GCash, within its cloud services business. Alibaba’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial, begins by targeting cross-border money transfers made by domestic workers in Hong Kong who routinely send money to their families in the Philippines. It subsequently forms a strategic alliance with Globe Telecom and Standard Chartered Bank which provide market access and financial intermediation. The case focuses on the value proposition of blockchain in cross-border financial services, particularly in Southeast Asia, and how it fits into Alibaba's "iron triangle" cloud services strategy in the region where there is fierce competition from Google and Digital Ocean. Blockchain technology is utilized to disintermediate the US-based SWIFT system and the dominant remittance service providers, Moneygram and Western Union, that charge high fees. As an illustration of how to launch proprietary cypto- and blockchain-based networks, the case explains how they differ from digital platforms, and how they are complementary, such as network effects and synergies with Alibaba’s installed customer base.


Teaching objectives

The case study incorporates important lessons in digital entrepreneurship, digital strategy, blockchain, cloud and web services, fintech, network effects, and diversification across technology platforms.

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