Salesforce closes Hong Kong office, building on Alibaba in China

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Salesforce is repositioning itself in China as it looks to expand the reach of its customer relationship management software in the country.

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The company is “accelerating” its strategic partnership with Alibaba, a Salesforce spokesperson told TechCrunch. In 2019 Alibaba became the exclusive supplier the American software giant in Greater China.

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As a result of a closer partnership with Alibaba, Salesforce is “streamlining our business structure to better serve the Greater China region” and “opening up new roles to the exclusion of some others,” the spokesperson said.

Company career page shows she is currently hiring a director of product management and a senior software engineer in Guangzhou city in southern China where she posted his technical team.

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It’s unclear what positions Salesforce is cutting in China, but a spokesperson confirmed that the firm is closing its office space in Hong Kong, which has historically been a springboard for multinationals to enter China. According to LinkedIn profiles, many positions in Salesforce Hong Kong are related to sales and account management.

It’s also unclear exactly how its relationship with Alibaba is progressing. Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Salesforce’s interest in China is serving international companies based in China, but it cannot do so alone due to the country’s complex regulatory restrictions.

As China introduced new rules over the past few years to control cross-border data processing, international tech giants have reduced their presence in China or exited the market entirely: LinkedIn, Yahooas well as Airbnbname a few.

Last year Salesforce and Alibaba launched a joint product to help brands expand their social commerce footprint in China. The use of social media such as WeChat to drive e-commerce sales, dubbed social commerce, has become the norm in China.

“Salesforce Social Commerce is expected to be built and hosted in China on Alibaba Cloud, one of the top three cloud service providers in the world and the largest in Asia Pacific, to help maintain the level of scalability needed for China’s ever-growing commerce ecosystem, and help customers resolve local data placement rules and compliance issues,” Salesforce said at that time.

Salesforce also has the potential to attract Chinese e-commerce exporters who are escaping centralized marketplaces like Amazon in favor of their own stores. But it hasn’t shown any visible effort to attract that crowd, while rival Oracle offers supermarket for export-oriented merchants to process data analytics, digital payments, and more. However, Shopify is an affordable solution for most merchants looking to be independent from Amazon.

This is reported by the Chinese business publication Ebrun. informed On Wednesday, it was announced that Salesforce had “disbanded” its China division, which oversees the firm’s business in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The report says that Alibaba will take over the firm’s sales in mainland China and Hong Kong, while Taiwan will be taken over by the Singapore office.

When asked to verify these claims, a Salesforce representative pointed to the statement provided to us (mentioned above).

“We look forward to continuing to serve our customers in Greater China and contribute to their success,” the spokesperson added.

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