4 February 2019

SMU and Alibaba Cloud launch first-of-its-kind upskilling programme outside of China

The Singapore Management University (SMU) and Alibaba Cloud have launched a series of courses today to upskill more than 1,000 working professionals in Singapore.

Formalised at a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony, the SMU-Alibaba Series professional continuing education programme is the first of its kind for Alibaba Cloud outside of China, and will be offered at the SMU Academy, the professional training arm of SMU, from March 2019.

Crafted specifically to empower small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the Series aims to equip businesses with the right competencies and capabilities to navigate rapid technological disruptions and fast-evolving consumer behaviour today. The courses will cover the latest trends and digital strategies across a range of industries, including retail, finance, logistics and manufacturing, to bring participants up to speed on the adoption of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and Blockchain within their respective fields.

Leon Chen (left) with Dr Lim Lai Cheng (right) after the signing ceremony.
Chen (left) with Dr Lim (right) after the signing ceremony.

Dr Lim Lai Cheng, Executive Director, SMU Academy, said, “This collaboration leverages Alibaba’s cutting-edge technologies and leading industrial knowledge; as well as SMU’s thought leadership, academic rigour and outreach. I am confident that the courses on offer will benefit many professionals who wish to upgrade their knowledge and skills in emerging tech areas, and companies which are keen to use digital and smart technologies to transform their business models.

“Following the completion of their face-to-face training, we hope to encourage participants to continue learning and sharing through the use of Alibaba’s online platforms. Over time, we hope to build a strong online learning community among Singaporeans and SMEs.”

Dr Lim added that the community will be constantly updated to help members hone their skills. This post-course community is the first of its kind for SMU.

Leveraging its faculty expertise, SMU will also develop cases of successful technological adoption by local companies, which in turn will be used as teaching resources for the SMU-Alibaba Series. In future, SMU and Alibaba Cloud plan to expand the Series to include a mentorship programme to help participating SMEs to implement tech-enabled strategies for their businesses.

Leon Chen, Country Manager, Singapore and Indonesia, Alibaba Cloud, shared that it is a special time to partner with SMU as it is the 20th anniversary for the Alibaba Group, and the 10th anniversary for Alibaba Cloud. He said that Alibaba Cloud set up headquarters in Singapore in 2015 not only to provide infrastructure-as-a-service, but to play as a technology enabler.

"We want to replicate our success in China. We want to bring over our technology, not only infrastructure but in big data, in security, in different vertical solutions," he said. "Singapore is the perfect hub not only for Asia but also the international market."

“As Singapore’s Smart Nation becomes a reality, we will require smart citizens to lead the way. Our partnership with SMU aims to help equip local businesses with the right tools and technology to propel Singapore onward. We hope to provide actionable advice through a blend of success stories and our holistic approach to technology to help create a future-ready Singapore,” he added.

The Series will begin with seven courses from March 2019, all of which will be conducted by Alibaba Cloud scientists who have experience with Singapore:

- Big Data Analytics & its Application in Business/Smart Retail & Marketing, by Long Yin and Yang Kan respectively, which will be based on case studies from Alibaba's own business and that of customers.

- Internet of Things: Technology & Applications, by Chuah Jun Wei

- Smart Finance by Sijukumar Kumaran

- Essentials of Cloud Computing by Gavin Liu

- Smart Manufacturing by Yang Kan, and

- Smart Logistics by Cao Yi, which will leverage lessons from Hema and Cainiao.

Yang said the courses will focus on the latest digital strategies that integrate seamless customer experience from offline to online, transforming business models into smart ones and showing how best practices and digital strategies can enable businesses to compete in new markets while preserving their core business.

Each course features an introduction, case study and workshop segment. "We want attendees to learn from each other, not only from us, so they can create synergies, have brainstorms and create innovative ideas," Yang said.

Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate jointly issued by the SMU Academy and Alibaba Cloud.

Courses under the SMU-Alibaba Series will be funded by SkillsFuture Singapore will be offered as part of the SkillsFuture Series of training programmes to drive training in eight priority and emerging skill areas. Seventy percent of the course fee can be offset for Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents. Singapore citizens aged 40 and above, and SMEs which send their employees who are Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents for the training, can claim a 90% course fee subsidy.


There are two intakes from 19 to 20 March, and 11 to 12 June. The courses are basic and generally open to working professionals, with some courses suitable for business leaders and senior managers. Recruitment has already begun. Get details of the courses

View pictures of the announcement on Facebook