E-commerce giant Alibaba Group is looking to expand its cloud services beyond its domestic market, with plans to establish data centers outside China.
The company's cloud division, Aliyun, will set up the data centers to support local enterprises as well as Chinese companies' international operations, Alibaba said in a statement Tuesday, adding that it will start offering cloud services outside of China in March.
"After five years of development and three years of commercialization, Aliyun is able to provide sustainable services to customers, backed by its resourceful parent, Alibaba," Aliyun director Zhang Jing, said in a China Daily report. He revealed that the company recently achieved the world's first gold certification for cloud security from industry standards firm, British Standards Institute.
Zhang declined to provide details on exactly where Aliyun will establish its first global site, but hinted at the U.S. market and Southeast Asia as two potential regions due to their links to Chinese businesses. He added that the company may partner local telcos to resolve any local regulatory restrictions involving cloud services.
When it launches it overseas sites, Aliyun will become the first Chinese vendor to address the global public cloud services market, and its announcement comes just days after U.S. rival Amazon Web Services unveiled plans to launch its services in China.
Microsoft in June also launched its Azure cloud platform in China via local partner 21Vianet, and has since garnered over 1,000 corporate users. Across the region, Microsoft has over 100,000 cloud resellers and 28,000 partner network members.
Aliyun is already China's largest cloud computing platform, processing 75 percent of the 188 million orders transacted during the country's November 11 shopping festival. The company in September acquired personal cloud storage vendor, Kanbox, and in August announced a partnership with ChinaSoft International to work on a state-funded cloud initiatives in Zhejiang province.
AWS said it had established partnerships with governments of the Beijing and Ningxia Hui regions to offer cloud services.
According to Chinese IT research firm CCWResearch, cloud computing is estimated to generate over 2.2 trillion yuan (US$362.3 billion) in output value and create 5 million job opportunities over the next three years.