As part of an aggressive US$1 billion plan to expand its presence across Southeast Asia, Alibaba Cloud will be launching its first data center in the Philippines by the end of this year. The objective is to extend the reach of its services including elastic compute, databases, security, machine learning, and data analytics.
The new data center will be constructed in the capital Manila and bring the company’s total number of availability zones or data centers to 76, spread across 25 regions worldwide. The Chinese cloud service provider said, “Local businesses across sectors such as financial technology, e-commerce, education, and media will be able to adopt and implement cloud technologies more efficiently, and better position themselves to capture the emerging opportunities in the country.”
Alibaba Cloud Intelligence’s general manager for Hong Kong, Macau, and the Philippines Leo Liu added that the company looks forward to building out the cloud ecosystem in the Philippines and contributing to the digital economy in Asia, leveraging the synergy with other hubs in the region.
Just last year, the cloud computing subsidiary of Alibaba Group announced the formation of the Philippines Ecosystem Alliance to help fast-track the digitalization of local businesses and support the government’s cloud-first policy. The company also aims to train 50,000 local IT professionals and help 5,000 businesses migrate online by 2023.
This is amidst Alibaba’s Project AsiaForward that has an initial US$1 billion in funding and resources to “cultivate a million-strong digital talent pool” across the Asia Pacific region. The Project also aims to empower 100,000 developers and the growth of 100,000 technology startups in the region over the next three years.
Along with the Philippines’ data center, Alibaba Cloud also announced the building of a third data center in Indonesia and an innovation center in Malaysia. Alibaba Cloud Intelligence general manager of international business unit Selina Yuan added “Our strategic roadmap for APAC includes targeted investments to facilitate the digital transformation of local businesses. We see these investments as all the more timely given the impact of the pandemic and the sharp rise in demand for digital business tools.
Equally important is our focus on talent development and nurturing a digitally-competent workforce, which we see as a key challenge for many businesses to overcome going forward.”
This year has seen Alibaba’s cloud unit finally become profitable, but the company recently acknowledged that it had lost a large international cloud customer, widely rumored to be TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. The company also recently unveiled a new service to help global online merchants set up their live streaming platforms. The e-commerce giant was one of the first to popularize Livestream shopping and now it wants to capitalize on its expertise as the model gains popularity outside of China. Livestream shopping took off in China in 2019. By the end of 2020, the model quickly attracted 388 million shoppers, more than a third of China’s 989 million internet users.