Salesforce shutters Hong Kong office leans on Alibaba in China

As it seeks to broaden the appeal of its customer relationship management software in the nation, Salesforce is redefining itself in China.

According to a Salesforce spokesman who talked to TechCrunch, the business is “accelerating” its strategic engagement with Alibaba. In Greater China, Alibaba was designated as the exclusive supplier of the American giant’s software in 2019.

Salesforce is “optimising our business structure to better serve the Greater China Region” as a consequence of its tighter engagement with Alibaba, and “creating new jobs while removing certain others,” the representative added.

According to the company’s recruitment portal, it is now seeking a senior software engineer and a director of product management in Guangzhou, a city in southern China where it has set up its tech team.

Although the representative made it apparent that the company is shutting its office in Hong Kong, which has traditionally served as a stepping stone for global corporations entering China, it is unclear exactly roles Salesforce is eliminating in China. According to LinkedIn profiles, sales and account management positions are prevalent at the Salesforce office in Hong Kong.

Also unknown is the precise nature of how its relationship with Alibaba is changing. A request for comment from Alibaba did not immediately get a response.

Salesforce’s aim in China is to assist foreign companies who are localising there, but it is unable to do it on its own owing to China’s complex regulatory framework.

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International internet behemoths like LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Airbnb, to name a few, have reduced their presence in China or left the market entirely as China has implemented new regulations to regulate data processing across borders during the last several years.

An initiative by Salesforce and Alibaba to assist businesses expand their social commerce presence in China was launched last year. Social commerce, often known as the use of social networks like WeChat to promote e-commerce transactions, has become standard in China.

In order to support the level of scalability required for China’s ever-expanding commerce ecosystem and to assist customers in addressing local data residency regulations and compliance concerns, Salesforce Social Commerce is intended to be built and hosted in China on Alibaba Cloud, one of the top three cloud providers in the world and the largest in APAC.

Salesforce may be able to attract Chinese e-commerce exporters who are moving away from Amazon and other centralized marketplaces in favour of self-hosted storefronts. But although its rival Oracle provides an all-in-one solution for export-led businesses to manage data analytics, digital payments, and more, it has not made a conspicuous attempt to draw this group. Having said that, Shopify is a popular and reasonably priced option for most merchants looking to break free from Amazon.

According to a story published on Wednesday by the Chinese business journal Ebrun, Salesforce has “disbanded” its China arm, which was in charge of managing the company’s operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Chinese mainland. According to the report, Alibaba will take over the company’s sales in Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China, while Taiwan would be managed by its Singapore branch.

Salesforce’s spokesman referred to the statement that was given to us when questioned about the veracity of these assertions (mentioned above).

The statement said, “We look forward to continuing to serve our clients in Greater China and supporting their success.

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