Alibaba Cloud Computing To Launch Hong Kong Data Center

Alibaba Group’s cloud computing subsidiary plans to open a Hong Kong data center, marking its first significant foray outside mainland China.

Alibaba Cloud Computing (AliCloud) said today the Hong Kong data center, which will launch on May 12, has been built in cooperation with Towngas Telecom, the telecommunication subsidiary of Towngas, Hong Kong’s largest gas company.

AliCloud already has data centers in three Chinese cities: Hangzhou, Qingdao and Beijing. In March, the data-service provider announced intentions to expand internationally. The Hong Kong center, the first manifestation of those plans, is being established to provide Chinese businesses operating in the Greater China region and in Southeast Asia with Internet traffic and data-handling capacity, officials said.

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, AliCloud said in a press release.

Competition in the cloud-computing market is heating up both inside and outside China. In December, Amazon launched Amazon Web Services, the U.S. e-commerce company’s cloud computing division, in the PRC. That same month, IBM teamed up with 21Vianet to provide IBM’s high-end cloud infrastructure in China.

Meanwhile, AliCloud has been pushing into China’s government and financial sectors by teaming up with local governments to create public cloud computing platforms and by working with banks to enhance their cloud computing security. In December, AliCloud was awarded the world’s first gold certification for cloud security by the British Standards Institute.

According to tech consultancy International Data Corporation, worldwide spending on cloud services is expected to reach more than $107 billion in 2017.