Although President-elect Donald Trump may have reservations about China, the country's ecommerce giant Alibaba (BABA) is aggressively pursuing inroads within the U.S. market, exploring its massive cloud potential.
This trend is one of the most compelling growth stories for investors.
Alibaba's cloud offering, Aliyun, has garnered significant traction across China's economic landscape. The U.S., however, is a more complex proposition, as Amazon's Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure have a powerful market presence.
Keep in mind, however, that Alibaba isn't looking for immediate profitability but is instead playing a long game.
Data security will clearly be an issue of tremendous concern for mainstream U.S. enterprises and users, and Alibaba must play its cards shrewdly, targeting companies that are looking to find a foothold in China.
On the face of it, Aliyun's pricing model is easier and simpler to understand.
Amazon and Microsoft have complicated and detailed pricing structures that are better suited to seasoned cloud users. A simpler pricing model could help Alibaba's chances, but its capital-strong peers are highly competitive and will resist losing any ground.
The stakes are high.
Research firm Gartner forecasts that the global public cloud services market will be worth $204 billion this year, up more than 16% from $175 billion last year.