Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to open two new data centers in India and Indonesia as world’s most populous countries with high mobility for its cloud computing division.
Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, said at the Computing Conference in Shanghai that it expects the two facilities to be completed during the current fiscal year, ending on March 31, 2018. It is also building a data center in Malaysia.
“I believe Alibaba Cloud, as the only global cloud services provider originating from Asia, is uniquely positioned with cultural and contextual advantages to provide innovative data intelligence and computing capabilities to customers in this region,” Simon Hu, SVP of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud, said.
“Establishing data centers in India and Indonesia will further strengthen our position in the region and across the globe.”
Digital News Asia recently caught up with Alibaba Cloud ASEAN and ANZ head Raymond Ma for his thoughts on cloud adoption in Southeast Asia and where it is headed.
Ma highlighted that Alibaba is the only global cloud player who has more than one presence in Southeast Asia, whereas the other global players are more focused on Singapore.
Alibaba is present in 14 countries globally (which already have data centers), and the plan is to open data centers in Indonesia, and India, as previously mentioned.
“Right now, we’ll set up the data centers in Malaysia and Indonesia. We also have a local team in Malaysia, and another in Indonesia,” he says.
“And later, we will bring the technology here, after we launch the data centers. We’re also building the ecosystem, we’re not only focused on the infrastructure but also on training people to use the platform. We have a global startup program to support local startups to support the cloud and big data program. Secondly, we have the Alibaba Cloud Professional certification that is our certification for cloud and big data.”
Ma also points out that Alibaba has acquired new companies that have cutting-edge technology such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), to enhance its capabilities. In addition, they are the only cloud company from Asia, hence they have cultural similarities with the local markets, he says.
When asked if Alibaba Cloud’s strategy is mainly pricing-based, he replies: “It is not just pricing, we have very good big data and AI technology. That is aligned with our experience in e-commerce, finance, logistics and other areas. The second thing is security, we have very good security technology. We helped Air Asia prevent an online attack. Also, we helped an online gaming company prevent a DDoS (Distributed DoS) attack as well.”
He also notes that they have a good ecosystem for the region, through sister companies such as Alipay, which have businesses in the region. “We can easily align with them to serve our clients.”
We also asked Ma what kind of features Alibaba Cloud will provide companies in this region. For example, beyond providing IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service] and PaaS [Platform as a Service], will they also provide BDA [big data analytics], AI and machine learning services?
Ma said they will, noting that they have technology like facial recognition and image search which can be applied to the application layer. “It’s not purely infrastructure or just PaaS technology, it’s partly SaaS [Software as a Service] as well.