Alibaba's cloud unit opens Hong Kong data center

A week after opening its Beijing cloud data center, Aliyun officially launches its fourth site in Hong Kong which is jointly operated with Hong Kong Towngas Telecom.

Alibaba Group's cloud computing unit has officially opened its Hong Kong data center, making it the fourth of such facility and a week after it launched its third in Beijing.

Aliyun on Monday formally launched the new Hong Kong site, which is jointly built and operated with Hong Kong's Towngas Telecom. The company said in a blogpost that the local data center will support customers in China as well as in Southeast Asia. 

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"In the past, Chinese companies venturing outside the PRC often needed to add Web servers in local markets, subjecting them to differing sets of regulations governing the Internet in each country in which they were operating. Renting offshore AliCloud servers located in Hong Kong will simplify their internet activities," Aliyun said.

These businesses would have to deal with local issues such as language, license registrations, policies, and currency exchanges, the company said, adding that it wants to help enterprise customers address these challenges. 

Alibaba in December said it was looking to  expand its cloud services beyond its domestic market , with plans to establish data centers outside China. The company then said it had secured the world's first gold certification for cloud security from industry standards firm, British Standards Institute. Company officials had hinted at the U.S. and Southeast Asian potential regions in which its data centers would be located, and pointed to partnerships with local telcos to address any local regulatory restrictions related to cloud services. 

Aliyun is the first Chinese vendor to compete in the global public cloud market, amid recent moves by foreign rivals including Amazon Web Services, IBM , and Microsoft to launch their services in China.

Alibaba is currently prepping for its much-anticipated IPO in the U.S. and has been making several moves to beef up its portfolio, including stocking up on patents  and investing in various businesses