Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Alibaba Group, opened its first India data centre in Mumbai last week. Alex Li, General Manager - Asia Pacific, Alibaba Cloud, told BusinessLine that the new data centre is a mega-scale one that could support the regional cloud needs for the next 3-5 years.

Why did you time your entry into the India so late? Is it because Alibaba is ready to enter the lucrative Indian e-commerce market and take on Amazon?

We are here to speak about the cloud business, and from that perspective, I can share that we aim to bring our technology expertise and comprehensive cloud offerings to empower Indian enterprises to unlock their business potential. India is on a journey to transform into a digital economy, which throws up tremendous opportunities for enterprises and SMEs to grow and become part of the global business environment. Indian SMEs are at the forefront of leveraging innovative technology more than ever before, to scale and grow their business. We believe that this is the right time to establish our presence in the market.

We have been providing services to a number of Indian companies across different sectors, through our data centres around the world. Now, we will be able to better service these existing customers, as well as offer localised services to address the increasing market demand from enterprises, internet and e-commerce companies, SMEs and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

Is the Mumbai data centre dedicated to customers in India or will it also serve the company’s customers outside of India?

Our data centre in Mumbai will cater to all companies looking for support in India. Specifically, the data centre will cater to India and regional customers in the Indian peninsula. It is a mega-scale centre that could support the regional cloud needs for the next 3-5 years.

How will Alibaba allay the fears of Indian customers about data security and privacy issues?

It has always been a priority at Alibaba Cloud to ensure the highest cyber protection and compliance standards to our customers. We comply with all applicable laws in every market we operate in. Our security standards have been recognised by a number of international organisations. For example, Alibaba Cloud is the world’s first cloud provider to complete the assessment for the Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalogue (C5) set out by the Federal Office for Information Security in Germany with the additional requirements. The British Standards Institute (BSI) awarded Alibaba Cloud the world’s first gold certification for cloud security. We have also achieved the Singapore Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS) standard Level 3 and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

What cloud-computing will you offer in India?

Alibaba Cloud will provide a comprehensive suite of cloud-computing and data-intelligence offerings. The major categories include elastic computing, database, storage and CDN (content delivery network), networking, analytics and big data, containers, middleware, and security. We also look forward to bring our data-intelligence capability to India in the future. ‘ET Brain’ is Alibaba Cloud’s proprietary Artificial Intelligence programme that aims to help different verticals tackle real-world challenges and unleash their development potential. ET City Brain, ET Industrial Brain, ET Medical Brain, ET Environment Brain and ET Aviation Brain offer an array of services for clients in enterprise, city administration and other professions.