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Internet Giants Battle It Out for China’s Consumer Data Market

By Zhao Runhua / Jul 25, 2019 01:06 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s digital businesses are increasingly turning to customer relationship management (CRM) technology, which allows business owners to record and analyze consumer behavior.

Alibaba has now drawn a major foreign partner into the arms race, with U.S.-based CRM leader Salesforce announcing Wednesday that it is working with the Chinese tech behemoth to bring cloud-based software to the Greater China market.

“Alibaba will become the exclusive provider of Salesforce to customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, and Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM product suite sold by Alibaba,” the American company said on its official blog.

The move comes as local Chinese players duke it out for the country’s yet-to-mature cloud CRM markets amid concern that slower population growth combined with increased market segmentation will force companies to professionalize the way they track consumer behavior. Also on Wednesday, search engine giant Baidu formally launched its own CRM platform, Aifanfan, which is expected to benefit from the company’s experience of managing and analyzing massive amounts of user data.

Aifanfan is seen as a competitor to the Tencent-backed Xiaoshouyi, one of China’s largest CRM platforms whose clients include the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — the world’s largest lender by assets.

Contact reporter Zhao Runhua (

Related: In Depth: Why Tencent Wants a Lift in Corporate Cloud Customers

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