Alibaba Cloud Partners with Next Challenge Foundation to Support Cultivation and Global Expansion of Korean Startups

Alibaba Cloud May 17, 2023

Seoul, Korea, May 17, 2023 – Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, today announced a partnership with Next Challenge Foundation, a Korea startup accelerator. Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU), the two organizations aim to promote the digital transformation of Korean startups and accelerate the pace at which they enter global markets.

Through this partnership, Alibaba Cloud aims to provide cloud-related education, training and professional consulting services to outstanding Korean startups nominated by the Next Challenge Foundation. The startups can also receive advanced cloud computing technology and ecosystem support from Alibaba Cloud, while receiving invitation to participate in official Alibaba Cloud events at home and abroad. This could help leverage opportunities to expand overseas through Alibaba Cloud’s ecosystem.

Myeong-hoon Ko, Korea head of Business Development, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence (right), and Young-rock Kim, CEO of Next Challenge Foundation (left), pose for a photo after signing a business agreement. (Courtesy of Alibaba Cloud)

Thanks to the partnership between the two companies, qualifying Korean startups can benefit from a more efficient and seamless entry into overseas markets, particularly in Southeast Asia. Alibaba Cloud is the global public cloud service provider with the biggest presence of datacenters in Southeast Asia.

"Demand for cloud products and services is increasing among Korean startups as more companies are accelerating their migration process to cloud computing. " said Unique Song, Regional General Manager of Japan & Korea, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. "Through this partnership, we look forward to helping more leading Korean startups to realize their potential for rapid growth and international expansion."

"There are many excellent startups in Korea that possess creativity, innovation and grit," said Young-rock Kim, CEO of Next Challenge Foundation. "Based on the rich experience, excellent global capabilities and both organizations’ accumulated startup support know-how, we will actively support the discovery and development of promising startups and promote the excellence of K-startups through access to global market.”

Alibaba Cloud entered the Korean market in 2016 and built its first data centre in the country in March 2022. By adopting proven technologies from Alibaba’s ecosystem, the company serves a wide range of domestic customers in various industries, including retail, finance, media and entertainment and internet companies through 86 availability zones in 28 regions around the world.

Recently, the Next Challenge Foundation ( opened a new Next Challenge Seoul Global Center (SGC) near Ewha Womans University and launched local branches in Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand to discover local partners. In addition, in March, it was selected as the main agency for the "2023 Global Business Collaboration Program - Gateway Sector" sponsored by the Small and Medium Business Administration's Startup Promotion Institute, to actively support the global expansion of promising startups.

About Alibaba Cloud

Established in 2009, Alibaba Cloud ( is the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group. It offers a complete suite of cloud services to customers worldwide, including elastic computing, database, storage, network virtualization services, large-scale computing, security, management and application services, big data analytics, a machine learning platform and IoT services. Alibaba maintained its position as the third leading public cloud IaaS service provider globally since 2018, according to IDC. Alibaba is the world’s third leading and Asia Pacific’s leading IaaS provider by revenue in U.S. dollars since 2018, according to Gartner.

About Next Challenge Foundation

Next Challenge Foundation is an accelerator foundation leading the public-private governance of the startup ecosystem and has been rapidly growing as a global startup accelerator (AC) since its establishment four years ago. It focuses on fostering innovative startup talents through strengthening the startup education ecosystem, accelerating domestic and foreign startups through company building, strengthening the network of startup ecosystem stakeholders, and targeting domestic startups' entry into ASEAN through overseas subsidiaries such as Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.

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