Microsoft will triple capacity for its Azure-based international public cloud service in China, significantly ramping up the company’s cloud presence in a market dominated largely by Alibaba.
CEO Satya Nadella made the announcement Wednesday during the company’s tech summit in Beijing, saying the Azure capacity expansion will give customers in the region and multinational corporations extending their business into China more flexibility and expanded access to cloud services. The new capacity will be added in the next six months, Nadella said.
Microsoft partnered with China-based datacenter provider 21Vianet in 2014 to allow the company to become the exclusive operator of Azure and Office 365 services in the world’s most populous country.
In that time, Microsoft says its gained 1,000 cloud partners and 80,000 enterprise customers to its international public cloud services offering in China, including brands like Lenovo and Haier, the world’s biggest manufacturer of home appliances.
Microsoft’s move is the latest by a major cloud provider to tap into the thriving Asia-Pacific region. But the cloud market in China is already locked in a love affair with the cloud offering from its local tech giant Alibaba, which will continue posing significant roadblocks for American cloud vendors trying to make headway.
Morningstar analyst Rodney Nelson noted this week that Alibaba’s grip on the massive Chinese cloud market is firm, writing that “Alibaba’s AliCloud is the Amazon Web Services of China. It’s already got more than 40% market share, and it has the full support of the state.”