Saturday, November 25, 2017

Alibaba Cloud intensifies fight against AWS, Microsoft, doubles Hong Kong data centre capacity

Company is now the world’s fifth largest cloud infrastructure services provider, with expansion plans set to re-shape the leaders top in the coming months.

Rapid enterprise adoption of cloud services has forced Alibaba Cloud to more than double its data centre capacity in Hong Kong as the company intensifies its expansion roadmap to fight back rivals Amazon and Microsoft.

The cloud computing business arm of giant e-commerce Alibaba Group said the need to expand the data centres came as demand for more secure and scalable computing services in the APAC region booms.

The hubs in Hong Kong serve a range of customers in the financial services, retail, hospitality and media.

Ethan Yu, Vice President of Alibaba Group and General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Global, said: “More companies have come to realise the importance of changing their traditional IT mind-set to embrace the new data technology.

“We are confident that the expanded data centre facility, together with our scalable and secure cloud offering, will better meet the needs of the digital transformation in key local sectors such as hospitality and financial services.”

Alibaba opened its first data centre in Hong Kong back in May 2014. The facility was built in cooperation with Towngas Telecom, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s largest gas company Towngas.

The company runs now 14 data centres worldwide, including six in China alone in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao and Hong Kong.

In November, Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, announced it would be launching four new data centres across the world, in Dubai, Tokyo in Japan, Germany and Sydney, Australia.

This saw the provider increase its data centre fleet to eight hubs outside China, with the German hub becoming the company’s first in Europe.

Alibaba Cloud has over 2.3 million customers worldwide, and according to IDC, it ranks amongst the top five cloud infrastructure services providers in the world.

Recent research from Canalys has also placed Alibaba in fifth place in terms of worldwide cloud sales, behind leader AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM.

According to the analyst firm, worldwide cloud infrastructure services market grew 49% annually, reaching $10.3bn within Q4 2016.

AWS continued to dominate the market with a 33.8% global market share, while its three nearest competitors – Microsoft, Google and IBM – together accounted for 30.8% of the market.

The four leading service providers were followed by Alibaba and Oracle, which made up 2.4% and 1.7% of the total.

Canalys forecast the market will hit $55.8bn in 2017, representing a 46% growth from the total value of $38.1bn in 2016.

Daniel Liu, Canalys Research Analyst, said: “Expanding data centre locations across the world and into key economies has been critical in supporting multi-national customers in their digital transformation initiatives.

“These services are also providing digital platforms for businesses to access new markets and capitalize on new trade opportunities, such as Alibaba’s Tmall Global.”