An engineer examines ari valves at a digital center of Alibaba in Zhangbei county, North China's Hebei province, Sep 11, 2016. (He Guang / For China Daily)
Firm aims to take on dominant role of Microsoft, Amazon
Alibaba Cloud said on Monday it would open four new data centers outside China by the end of this month, its latest effort to make inroads in a global cloud computing market dominated by Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc.
The four new facilities－located in Europe, the Middle East, Japan and Australia－will bring the company's total data centers worldwide to 14, including two in the United States, the cloud computing arm of e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced in Dubai.
"As the infrastructure of the new economy, cloud computing is used by more and more industries in regions across the world," said Hu Xiaoming, president of Alibaba Cloud in a statement.
He added that with the expansion of its global footprint, Alibaba Cloud will be able to empower businesses, big or small, in the world with computing capacity, big data and artificial intelligence technologies.
The opening of the four new centers will make Alibaba Cloud the first Chinese company that is able to provide cloud computing services in major internet markets in the world.
Analysts said that Alibaba Cloud's growing momentum in global expansion is in line with Alibaba Group's business ambition in regions outside China. The e-commerce giant has made globalization one of its top priorities with specific goals to serve 2 billion consumers and tens of millions of enterprises worldwide in the coming 10 years.
"Alibaba Cloud is a critical backbone to support its (Alibaba Group's) business strategy, and Alibaba Cloud itself is becoming an increasingly important business for Alibaba, as what AWS (Amazon Web Services) is for Amazon," said Charlie Dai, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
As the e-commerce giant's fastest-growing division, Alibaba Cloud has been growing at triple-digit rates due to the rising demand of enterprises, which see cloud computing as the foundation in modern commerce.
According to estimates compiled by Bloomberg, Alibaba Cloud probably helped power 53 percent growth in Alibaba Group revenue to 33.9 billion yuan ( billion) last quarter.
It ranked the top in China's public cloud market with 31 percent of the market share in 2015. But in the world, it ranked the fifth, with Microsoft and Amazon, the top two players, taking the lion's share of the market, according to IDC.