Alibaba Cloud lets its tiny desktop-as-a-service client leave China

Singapore-only release means this is not a major move on the DaaS or VDI markets


Alibaba Cloud has brought its palm-sized Wuying cloud client device to Singapore – its first foray outside China.

Wuying was revealed in September 2020. The tiny device was suggested as a way for consumers and businesses to break free of PC upgrade cycles. Instead, it allows them to run a virtual desktop streamed from the Alibaba Cloud and endure a cabled connection to a local monitor and input devices.

In 2021 Alibaba offered a sequel: an all-in-one Wuying that offered the cloudy client plus a large touch screen. Accompanying the device was a Cloud Workplace that offers cloud storage and offers admins the chance to manage Wuying devices remotely.

Both versions of Wuying were offered in China only.

Now Alibaba Cloud has brought the device to Singapore – along with its cloudy Elastic Desktop Service – and suggested it is just the thing for remote workers or for enterprises tired of running their own desktop virtualization infrastructure.

But Alibaba Cloud has not made a huge splash. The company announced availability and a happy experience at a reference company, but is not discussing prices in public and won't say if it's bringing both Wuying devices to town.

We also asked if Alibaba Cloud has any plans to bring Wuying and its cloudy desktops to other nations where it operates: the USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Again, the company had nothing to say on the matter.

Alibaba Cloud is not often as up-front about its intentions as rival clouds. Its website, for example, does not publicly match the comprehensive price lists that other clouds publish.

Yet even with that in mind, it is hard to suggest that Wuying's Singapore debut suggests Alibaba Cloud has emerged as a threat to anyone else in the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) market.

Thin client makers won't be losing sleep. Hyperconverged infrastructure players that still derive a lot of revenue from desktop virtualization (Nutanix admits to this) won't be looking in their rear-vision mirrors. Citrix and VMware won't perceive an immediate new threat. Microsoft will rest assured its own multi-headed DaaS offerings lack a new global competitor, and HP won't fret that its Teradici acquisition could be trumped.

The Register asked if it might be possible to review Wuying, and was told that Alibaba Cloud has not yet considered that option but could change its mind. If it does, we'll be all over it like a rash. ®

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