China's Alibaba to launch Asia-Pacific cloud services operation in Singapore, heating up rivalry with Amazon
Alibaba Group, the world's biggest e-commerce services provider, is opening a new data centre in Singapore next month as it sees the island state as a hub for expanding its cloud-computing business across the Asia-Pacific market.
That launch would signal a strong challenge to Amazon, which was first to establish a regional cloud operation in Singapore for subsidiary Amazon Web Services in 2010.
The new Singapore data centre for Aliyun, the company's cloud-computing arm, follows its recent initiatives in California's Silicon Valley and Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. The news was announced Wednesday.
Ethan Yu Sicheng, a vice-president at Aliyun, said there was healthy demand for cloud-related data management services in Singapore "because of the ease of doing business there, the comprehensive transport and telecommunications connections, and robust intellectual property regime".
"The city-state is a natural springboard into the Asia-Pacific region, not only for us, but for our target audience," Yu said.
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The initial focus for Aliyun will be to serve the cloud-computing needs of Chinese companies which are expanding their businesses into Southeast Asia.
Aliyun, which had 1.8 million customers as of June 30, is the leading provider of cloud-computing services in mainland China.
Cloud services enable companies to buy, lease, sell or distribute software and other digital resources online, just like electricity from a power grid. Data centres host and manage cloud services and applications.
In July, New York-listed Alibaba revealed plans to invest as much as US$1 billion to build up Aliyun's network of data centres around the world.
Alicia Yap, the head of China internet research at Barclays, said in a report that Alibaba management was keen to invest in technology upgrades and new staff for Aliyun.
A survey by private equity firm North Bridge said the global cloud computing market is predicted to be worth more than US$150 billion this year.
Founded in September 2009, Aliyun has existing data centres in Hangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.