Alibaba funding will fuel global expansion as Aliyun set sights firmly on US cloud competitors
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba will plough $1bn (£640m) of extra investment into its Aliyun cloud computing division in an attempt to challenge US rival Amazon Web Services, the cloud arm of Amazon.
The announcement comes one week after Aliyun made moves to woe US customers to its cloud service with a data protection pact that promised users complete control over their data.
The funding will help Aliyun continue its global expansion, which includes a data centre in Silicon Valley and a partnership program that has already seen success in the Middle East.
Aliyun president Simon Hu has made no secret of the firm’s attempt to become a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services.
“Our goal is to overtake Amazon in four years, whether that’s in customers, technology, or worldwide scale,” Hu said in an interview. “Amazon, Microsoft and others have already laid the groundwork for us by educating the markets about cloud in the U.S. and Europe, so we have an even better opportunity to join in the competition.”
According to figures from Synergy Research Group, Amazon Web Services commanded a 28 percent market share of the global cloud infrastructure market in 2014, with Microsoft lagging behind, claiming only 10 percent. IBM and Google controlled 7 and 5 percent respectively.
Alibaba in March opened its first ever cloud computing data centre in the US, located in Silicon Valley. This will be Aliyun’s US expansion headquarters, and from where the firm will run its “Data Protection Pact”.
The firm further accelerated its efforts to attract global customers in June with the launch of a partner program that will offer businesses access to its full suite of cloud services.
Aliyun’s Marketplace Alliance Program (MAP) will allow the cloud division to target businesses around the world with localised cloud computing offerings as the firm looks to partner with enterprises in different regions.
“The new Aliyun program is designed to bring our customers the best cloud computing solutions by partnering with some of the most respected technology brands in the world. We will continue to bring more partners online to grow our cloud computing ecosystem,” said Sicheng YU, vice president, Aliyun.