Alibaba opens data center in Silicon Valley

Memo to Amazon: China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba is opening a data center in Silicon Valley to support its cloud computing services in its first expansion overseas.

The center, operated by Alibaba’s cloud computing subsidiary Aliyun, will start by serving Chinese businesses in the U.S. but will include international clients in the second half of the year — a challenge to U.S. based e-commerce giant Amazon, which is also a major data center operator.

“There’s lots of room for us to grow outside of China, we just need to grow in a careful way,” Sicheng Yu, vice president and head of its international business, said in a story posted on Alibaba’s e-commerce blog, Alizila.

Aliyun has 1.4 million customers in China but is not well known outside the U.S — until today. Alibaba runs on the cloud platform operated by Aliyun, which in 2009 began selling cloud services to Chinese businesses and government agencies.

In China, Aliyun competes with Amazon’s AWS web services unit in offering cloud services. But Yun said Aliyun doesn’t plan a frontal attack on U.S. cloud services providers.

“For the time being, we are just testing the water,” he said. “We know what Chinese clients need, now it’s time for us to learn what U.S. clients need.”

Alibaba’s press release observed that a survey by North Bridge shows that 75 percent of the companies in America use some form of cloud services. It said the global cloud market is expected to grow to $150 billion.

Photo: courtesy Alizila

 

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