The company, often described as the “Chinese Ebay”, is expanding its cloud computing arm from its current bases in China and Silicon Valley to the Middle East, Europe and Japan, in what is a direct competition with Amazon’s rapidly growing rival, Amazon Web Services.
Alibaba’s chief executive, Daniel Zhang, said in a statement that this additional $1bn investment was “just the beginning”:
Aliyun has become a world-class cloud computing service platform that is the market leader in China, bearing the fruits of our investment over the past six years.
As the physical and digital are becoming increasingly integrated, Aliyun will serve as an essential engine in this new economy.
Cloud computing and Aliyun, which was spun off in 2012, are Alibaba’s fastest growth areas.