quantum computer
A D-Wave 2X quantum computer is pictured during a media tour of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California December 8, 2015. Housed inside the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility, the 1,097-qubit system is the largest quantum annealer in the world and a joint collaboration between NASA, Google, and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Reuters

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of the China-based Alibaba Group, on Wednesday, December 20, has announced the launching of a new data center in India that will help nearly 51 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to begin their Cloud journey.

The Alibaba data center, set to open in Mumbai in January, will begin a new competition for the existing players like Microsoft and Google in the country.

Microsoft sees Alibaba as the third competitor in the Cloud business in India, apart from Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

"We are excited to be officially opening our new Mumbai data centre in early 2018, enabling us to work closely with more Indian enterprises," Simon Hu, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud, said in a statement.

"These local enterprises are innovative and operating in growth sectors, and we look forward to empowering them through our Cloud computing and data technologies," Hu added.

As a key market in the company's cloud's globalization strategy, India offers the business opportunity for rapid economic growth and scope for enterprises to expand beyond the country.

"Our vision to empower enterprises to go global is extended to our Indian clients with cloud products, including computing, storage, and big data processing capabilities," the company said.

The data center will also enable Indian businesses to run their applications on the company's Cloud platform.

The data center's service offerings include computing, database, storage and content delivery, networking, analytics and big data.

Alibaba Cloud has tied up with Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, that enables direct access to Alibaba Cloud Express Connect through GCX's "Cloud X Fusion" service.

The company had earlier also announced a partnership with Tata Communications to provide direct access to Alibaba Cloud Express Connect through Tata Communications' IZOTM Private Connect Service.

Alibaba Cloud has 33 zones in 16 economic centers worldwide, with coverage extending across China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Australia, West Asia, Europe, India and the US.

"As we build the cloud network globally, India is another important piece that is firmly in place.

"This continues our commitment to India, helping it to develop trade opportunities with other markets in the region and beyond," added Hu.

Alibaba Cloud would have a local team of consultants to provide service planning, implementation, and after-sales support, helping Indian companies move to the cloud.

"This will extend what Alibaba Cloud is already doing to service thousands of customers from India globally," the company said.

Set up in 2009, Alibaba Cloud is among the largest providers of public cloud services in China and one of the largest Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers in the world.