Alibaba is bringing its cloud computing business into India as it continues to expand its fast-growing business unit.
The Chinese firm said today that its first data center on Indian soil will come online in January and be based out of Mumbai. The business already has clients in India, but a local presence will allow it to better service customers in the country, it added.
Beyond offering standard cloud products — like large scale computing, storage and big data capabilities — India-based customers will get access to elastic computing, database, storage and content delivery, networking, analytics and big data, containers, middleware, and security.
The new center will give Alibaba Cloud 33 availability zones, which covers regions including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S..
“As we build out the Alibaba Cloud network globally, India is another important piece that is now firmly in place. This continues our commitment to India, helping it to develop trade opportunities with other markets in the region and beyond,” Simon Hu, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud, said in a statement.
Alibaba previously revealed plans for the India data center — and another in Indonesia — in June.
Earlier this year, we wrote that Alibaba is aiming to compete with the likes of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud in the long run. For now, it is seeing most of its traction in China, but revenue is increasing at the rate of nearly double for every quarter this year.
Alibaba Cloud hit net sales of RMB 3 billion ($447 million) in the most recent quarter, up from RMB 2.4 billion in the previous three-month period when it hit one million customers for the first time. Overall, the cloud computing business recorded a RMB 697 million loss, or negative $105 million, which it put down to investment in R&D having nearly reached breakeven in the previous quarter.
India is also a key focus for Alibaba generally. The company has invested heavily in payment and e-commerce firm Paytm — helping it push into digital banking services, as Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has done in China — so it makes sense that Alibaba Cloud is also putting focus there.
In evidence of its global focus, Alibaba Cloud made its first investment outside of China last month when it led a $27 million round for open source startup MariaDB.