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Alibaba ramps up cloud infrastructure in India; bets big on data localisation

Paytm (which is backed by Alibaba) has been in favour of storing and processing critical data like payments within India, but Google’s stance has been to allow free flow of data.

tech Updated: Sep 29, 2018 16:00 IST
alibaba,alibaba cloud infrastructure,alibaba india
Alibaba has opened its second ‘Availability Zone’ in Mumbai.(AFP)

Chinese tech giant Alibaba Friday said it is ramping up its data centre infrastructure in India with its second ‘Availability Zone’ in Mumbai as it expects strong demand coming from enterprises and startups in the country.

Alibaba ramps up cloud infrastructure in India -- a key component of the draft recommendations made by Justice BN Srikrishna on the privacy laws in India.

“We (have) set up our first Zone in India earlier this year, and given the strong growth we have seen in the past few months, we are now launching the second one. While I will not be able to comment on the investments made, I can tell you India is a big commitment for us,” Alibaba Cloud India General Manager Alex Li told PTI.

He added that the company aims to onboard one lakh customers by March 2019.

Alibaba Cloud, which competes against the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft, counts names like Oppo, Vivo, Paytm, DLF, Krazybee and Reliance Entertainment among its clients in India. Asked about the proposed rules around data localisation, Li said the move will benefit the company.

“A mandate for data localisation would help our business. We will respect the local law whenever it comes in. We are ensuring that our customers get the best services and security of the data is a key focus for us,” he said.

The issue of data localisation has exposed a deep divide among the industry players -- many prominent US trade bodies whose members include tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft are reportedly opposing government’s plans to mandate storing of data locally.

READ: US firms face off with Paytm in lobbying against data storage rules

While Paytm (which is backed by Alibaba) has been in favour of storing and processing critical data like payments within India, Google’s stance has been to allow free flow of data.

As such, India’s draft personal data protection bill recognises privacy as a fundamental right, and proposes “explicit consent” for processing sensitive personal information like religious or political belief, sexual orientation and biometric information. The draft bill, for which the government is seeking public suggestions by September 30, also proposes to restrict and impose conditions on the cross-border transfer of personal data.

Alibaba Cloud currently has 50 availability zones across 18 economic centres globally, with coverage extending across mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, India and the U S (East and West Coast).

Li said Alibaba Cloud also intends to train about 1,000 sales and technology personnel in India by March 2019.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 16:00 IST