Looks to take on cloud computing industry leaders Amazon and Microsoft
Simon Hu, president of Aliyun, the cloud computing unit of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, said in an interview with the South China Morning Post that the company would be expanding the reach of its cloud services by adding several new data centers in the next 12 to 18 months.
After launching their first US data center back in March, Aliyun will follow up shortly with a second US data center as well as new facilities in Singapore and Japan. There are also discussions about a potential site in India.
On the global stage
Aliyun recently signed a development agreement with Dubai-based real estate holding company Meraas to build a data center technology hub, giving Aliyun an entry into the Middle East market, where neither Amazon nor Microsoft have a significant presence.
Amazon is on track to earn $7 billion from their cloud services in 2015, representing close to 30 percent of the worldwide market for cloud services. While Aliyun currently has almost 25 percent of the Chinese market, its revenues are minuscule in comparison. This global expansion is their first step in getting a bigger share of the $20 billion plus worldwide spending on cloud computing.
Hu also attempted to address the elephant in the room by announcing that there would be specific data security safeguards in place, with customers having absolute ownership of their data; Aliyun would not transfer any customer data outside of the contracted data center without the direct instructions of the customer, and that they would be guided by local laws (local as to the data center location), as far as police and governmental requests for information are concerned.
Mr. Hu was quite aware of the perception existing in some parts of the world, as to the security of information that is kept in Chinese hands. He aknowledged that only time will help non-Chinese businesses develop the trust necessary to place critical data in Aliyun data centers. Unfortunately he did not make any direct statements as to how the company would respond to requests from Chinese government or law enforcement, leaving the issue one that will likely continue to trouble potential customers.