Alibaba has launched a cloud region in Johannesburg, South Africa via a local partner.

Telkom subsidiary BCX last week officially launched its Africa Local Public (ALP) Cloud service from two Johannesburg-based data centers in partnership with Alibaba Cloud.

Alibaba Cloud.jpg
– Alibaba

BCX, a subsidiary within Telkom Group, is one of Africa's largest systems integrators. Founded as Business Connexion in 1996, Telkom acquired the company in 2015.

BCX announced a partnership with Alibaba in October 2022 granting the company exclusive rights and authority to distribute Alibaba Cloud’s products and services in South Africa.

The service will come from two availability zones: BCX’s Midrand-based data center and Teraco’s Isando facility.

At the launch, BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi told local press the new service will target enterprise clients looking for cloud capabilities combined with data sovereignty.

“The launch of ALP Cloud serves multiple purposes, one of which accentuates our dedication to maintaining a local presence,” he said.

“As a result, when our customers opt for BCX local cloud services, they will be directly connecting with, and supported by, a South African company. This strategic initiative addresses the rising demand for secure, scalable, and high-performance cloud solutions that cater to the distinct requirements of South African businesses.”

Further expansion into Mozambique is planned to launch before the end of the year, with an additional region planned for Cape Town in the future. Previous reports have also suggested further expansions being explored in Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia.

Jan Bouwer, chief solutions officer at BCX, added: “ALP Cloud ensures data stays within South Africa, addressing data sovereignty and compliance requirements. BCX also aims to align with the principles of the national data and cloud policy, which seeks to promote data sovereignty in South Africa.”

Alibaba operates a network of 29 cloud regions and 88 availability zones globally. Outside of China, it has regions across Europe, the US, the Middle East, and APAC. The company previously had no regions on the African continent.

Alibaba announced earlier this year that it was planning a cloud data center for Ankara, Turkey. 2022 saw Alibaba launch data centers in Bangkok, Thailand; Frankfurt, Germany; and Tokyo, Japan.

Alibaba is looking to spin out and list its cloud unit separately from the main parent company, following a series of leadership changes.