GoDaddy brings cloud SMB services to Asia, but not China yet

US-based tech vendor now offers its cloud-based services for small businesses in 11 Asian markets including Singapore and Vietnam, but says it's still assessing how it should best approach China.

GoDaddy has extended its cloud-based offerings for small businesses to 11 markets in Asia, but is still holding back on China until it figures out the best way to address the potentially lucrative market.

The Arizona, US-based vendor this week launched in several Asian economies including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan, offering support for local customers as well as languages. Its offerings including domain name and web hosting services, as well as business applications such as Office 365. and Managed WordPress Hosting.

Speaking to Singapore media on Wednesday, GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving said the company aimed to address an enterprise segment that had been underserved for decades, noting that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) were critical contributors to their local economy and needed adequate help to compete more effectively.

These enterprises accounted for more than 97 percent of Asia's overall business community and employed half of the workforce, according to figures from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. In Singapore, for instance, SMBs accounted for 99 percent of all enterprises and employed 70 percent of the local workforce, Irving said, adding that there were more than 187,000 SMBs in the city-state.

He said it had become increasingly complex for these companies to manage their online presence, which had evolved from mostly static webpages to dynamic sites with links to social media platforms and various other functions.

"As internet growth and smartphone adoption continue to accelerate across the region, it's important that these businesses are able to create strong digital identities that will help them achieve their goals and compete online," he noted.

With its Asian launch, GoDaddy now offers its suite of cloud-based products in 53 markets, 26 languages, and 44 currencies. It launched in Australia last July.

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GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving

The vendor has 14 million customers worldwide, of which more than 4 million are international. With domain name management services currently accounting for 52 percent of its revenue, it handles some 15.1 billion DNS resolutions daily, hosts 10 million websites, and operates more than 55,000 servers.

It also runs nine data centers globally, although its Singapore facility is currently the only site in Asia. Asked if it was planning to expand its datacenter footprint in the region with the Asian launch, Irving said this would depend on customer demand and market growth as well as its ability to establish good peering relations.

And while it currently has a local language team based in Dalian, China, to support its Asian customers, GoDaddy has yet to set up presence in the Chinese market.

The company's Asia vice president, Roger Chen, explained that China had stringent regulatory requirements and known for its market complexities.

The country clearly offered tremendous market opportunity and GoDaddy was keen to enter the local industry, but Irving said it would need to first explore its options and determine the right approach and model to do so.

Having seen big tech companies attempting to address the market on their own and not finding much success, he further noted that establishing a local partnership would likely be a good way to move forward in China.

The company, however, does offer .cn as part of its top-level domain inventory. It has more than 62 million domains under its management.

While the China market remained on the back burner for now, India had been successful for GoDaddy, Irving said. It entered the India market three years ago, making the Asian economy the vendor's first outside the US, and had done so with low market awareness and domain share, he said.

Today, GoDaddy accounted for 33 percent of .in domain names and 50 percent of .com domains in India, he said, adding that it also operated a customer support team of about 20 to 40 employees in the country. The vendor has a global headcount of some 5,000, including more than 400 located in India.

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