Alibaba Group announced today that its first cloud computing unit in Hong Kong will launch on May 12. Following their sites in Hangzhou, Qingdao, and Beijing, this will become the company’s fourth site.

Although Alibaba’s cloud computing unit generates only $90 million in revenue (a mere 1.4% of its total revenue), analysts have suggested that data management services will become increasingly important as the site continues its rapid growth. Moreover, according to a report by the China Software Industry Association, China’s cloud-computing value chain is expected to be worth $122 billion by 2015.”

The launch of the new data center is the company’s first step to expand its cloud computing business outside of mainland China. However, the e-commerce giant will be entering into a field that is competitive; Amazon Web Services and IBM already have major tech companies as their customers.

The news of Alibaba’s data center comes only a week after the company filed for its U.S. public offering, which is said to be one of the largest tech IPOs ever. Some analysts estimate that Alibaba could be worth between $150 billion and $250 billion. Indeed, investors across the globe will be watching the companies every move — especially their expansion into cloud computing — as they decide whether to subscribe for shares in the IPO.

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(Image Credit: Charles Chan)



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