Alibaba Cloud launched its first data center in Indonesia on Thursday, addressing a growing demand for reliable, scalable cloud services among small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The new data center will offer a suite of cloud services spanning elastic computing and database management to networking and security, among others. Its launch brings the number of Alibaba Cloud data centers up to 18 countries and regions worldwide.
“We are focusing on SMEs,” said Indonesia’s communications and information minister, Rudiantara, who goes by one name. He said the country has more than 15 million SMEs, calling them a key force in Indonesia’s economy.
“SMEs need cloud technology to drive more growth. We also encourage Indonesian businesses in every other sector to use cloud services, as our market is more challenging compared to China as an archipelagic country… A better infrastructure will help the SMEs across Indonesia, helping them widen their markets as well as improve our economy,” said Rudiantara.
The data center underscores Alibaba Cloud’s commitment to support an Indonesian government-backed initiative to create 1,000 viable start-ups worth US$10 billion by 2020, the company said. Though its tech sector is still nascent, Southeast Asia’s largest country by population has been a prime breeding ground for start-ups such as e-commerce player Tokopedia, in which Alibaba took a minority share when it led a funding round last August.
In addition to the Tokopedia investment, the data center is the newest of Alibaba’s relationships with several Indonesian major entities. Travel operator Dwidaya Tour and location-based social app Yogrt are users of Alibaba Cloud, while related payments company Ant Financial has teamed up with media conglomerate Emtek to launch a digital payments service in the country. Alibaba is also a majority stakeholder in Singapore-based e-commerce platform Lazada, which operates in Indonesia.
Alibaba Cloud said it would roll out its Certified Professional program in Indonesia, as well, training 300 entrepreneurs and cloud experts in best practices for the platform’s cloud-computing, big-data and security technology to support the still-developing sector.
Geographical proximity and close ties between China and Indonesia provide the company a particular advantage said Alex Li, the general manager of Asia Pacific at Alibaba Cloud.
“As the only global cloud-services provider originating from Asia, we are uniquely positioned with cultural and contextual advantages to provide innovative data-intelligence solutions and computing capabilities to customers across this region,” said Li.
Established 2009, Alibaba Cloud is the world’s third-ranked infrastructure-as-a-service provider, behind only Amazon and Microsoft, according to research firm Gartner. To date, apart from China, Alibaba Cloud’s coverage area includes key international markets, such as the U.S., Germany, Singapore, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and India.