Alibaba plans to spend 200 billion yuan ($28.2 billion) on its cloud infrastructure over three years.

The investment - across data centers, operating systems, servers, chips, and networks - comes after a surge in cloud use due to Covid-19 stay at home orders.

Huge expansion

– Alibaba

"The Covid-19 pandemic has posed additional stress on the overall economy across sectors, but it also steers us to put more focus on the digital economy," Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said in a statement.

One of its fastest-growing business sectors, Alibaba's cloud division hit 10.7 billion yuan ($1.5bn) in revenues in the fourth quarter - up 62 percent.

Alibaba has a 46.4 percent share of China’s cloud market, according to research firm Canalys, and has a leading share of the cloud market across much of Asia Pacific.

The company operates 63 availability zones in 21 regions around the world, but has limited market penetration outside Asia. The company has also invested heavily into its own AI inferencing chips and RISC-V hardware.

"I think cloud will be... the main business of Alibaba in the future," CEO Daniel Zhang told CNBC in 2018.