Well, this is an interesting tie-up. Chinese technology and ecommerce giant Alibaba Group and Bollore Group said last week that they have formed a global partnership agreement to do business on a number of fronts, including cloud services, digital transformation, mobility and logistics among other areas.
Bollore Group, as most readers are aware, controls Vivendi, the parent company of ad firm Havas Group. Yannick Bollore is the CEO of Havas and also chairman of Vivendi. His father Vincent is the head of Bollore Group.
Havas has worked with Alibaba previously, via the group’s Havas China Desk, formed last year as a consultancy to advise group clients on various aspects of China-related business endeavors. It counts among its clients Alibaba Cloud.
Via the partnership announced last week, Alibaba Cloud will provide a number of computing services to Bollore Group related to data management, artificial intelligence, content delivery and security solutions.
The companies will also explore joint development of new services, like voice control and autonomous driving for electric cars and buses, as well as the development of car sharing solutions to China.
That last bit is particularly interesting.
Bollore is a veteran of the car-sharing business. In fact, Paris authorities recently opted not to continue funding of a longtime car-sharing venture the city had with Bollore.
In this case, however, it looks like one door is closing while a potentially much bigger door is opening.
It’s not clear whether Havas will become involved in the new Bollore-Alibaba partnership, but there are overlapping interests where it might make sense. One example: In May Havas announced that it is forming an AI innovation center that will explore the technology and its applications to the customer experience.
Various Bollore and Alibaba executives were quoted in the announcement indicating how pleased, excited, proud and delighted they are to enter the partnership. With any luck, a year from now the partners will be able to point to accomplishments that justify all the current excitement.