Open sesame: Alibaba to open its first data centre in Europe

Picks Germany over Blighty in deal with Vodafone

China

The cloudy arm of China's Amazon-equivalent Alibaba is opening its first data centre in Europe – part of the outfit's bid for global cloud domination.

Alibaba Group is partnering with Vodafone Germany to co-locate Alibaba Cloud's first European data centre at Vodafone's data centre facilities in Frankfurt.

The biz has also announced three more data centres in Dubai, Australia, and Japan by the end of 2016.

The outfit has been keen to boost its international cloud expansion over the last year, which has mainly targeted Chinese companies seeking to build a presence abroad.

Its model outside of the Middle Kingdom has been to partner with existing providers in local regions.

Last year it promised to pump $1bn (£637m) into its cloudy arm, previously going under the brand of Aliyun.

Alibaba's cloud computing division Alicloud reported bumper growth of 138 per cent to $468m (£322m) for its full financial year 2016, as more paying customers flocked to the Middle Kingdom's AWS equivalent.

It currently has 2.3 million cloudy users.

Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud, said: "We want to establish cloud computing as the digital foundation for the new global economy using the opportunities of cloud computing to empower businesses of all sizes across all markets."

Ethan Yu, veep of Alibaba Group, said Germany was chosen as its first data centre in Europe because of its infrastructure and location in the heart of Europe. Once the data centre is complete, Alibaba will have a presence in "14 key economic centres" around the world, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US.

The firm is also keen to dominate in areas outside of cloud too, having recently entered the race for election to the ruling executive committee of the Java Community Process (JCP). Jack Ma's e-commerce giant joined the JCP only three months ago – in August. ®


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