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Datacentre Mystery As Alibaba Launches Aust. Cloud Venture

The world’s No. 3 cloud computing company, China’s Alibaba Cloud, yesterday formally launched itself into the Australian market, taking on market leaders Microsoft and Amazon, and revealing it has already signed up with a datacentre in Sydney and has inked a support deal with Accenture.

The Australian service is one of four Alibaba Cloud newbies opening for business this week. The others are in Germany, Japan and United Arab Emirates.

They join well-established Alibaba Cloud services in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and the USA. The company now claims some 2.3 million cloud customers worldwide, with the majority based in China.

Debut of the Australian operation was announced to a small Australian media gathering by Ethan Yu, pictured, an Alibaba group VP and GM of Alibaba Cloud. Also attending were Simon Hu, Alibaba Cloud president; and Maggie Zhou, MD of Alibaba Cloud A/NZ.

Ethan Yu declined to name the datacentre business chosen to host its Down Under service, for security reasons. Press conjecture has included NextDC and Equinix – the former has one major and very modern DC in Sydney with a second planned; and the latter has four Sydney centres.

Yu said Alibaba Cloud has already set up operations in Sydney and Melbourne with “a dedicated team” of experts able to provide data storage and analytics, enterprise middleware and cloud security services.

It has also inked local technology partners, including integration specialist Accenture, which Yu said will be able to serve customers and partners and help Australian enterprises extend their IT infrastructure overseas.

Maggie Zhou said Melbourne would become the head office, despite the data being held in Sydney. While she carries the title of A/NZ MD, Yu said there were no current plans to open a New Zealand operation: for the time being Shaky Isle customers will be serviced from Oz.

Yu predicted good business should come from small-medium Australian enterprises seeking to set up in China and across Asia. “I think that we are the only one that can provide this kind of global coverage,” he said. – David Frith

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