Alibaba Cloud, a cloud computing arm of China’s Alibaba Group, said here on Monday that it launched a data center in Dubai.

Operated by YVOLV, a joint venture between Alibaba Cloud and United Arab Emirates (UAE) company Meraas Holdings, the data center will be the first “full-fledged public cloud” in the Middle East, said Alibaba Cloud and Meraas in a joint press conference.

It will serve the “increasing demand” for mission-critical, affordable and secure cloud computing in the region, they said.

Simon Hu, president of Alibaba Cloud, said that with the data center, global cloud network will be able to meet demands from enterprises which are going global.

Fahed Al-Hajeri, chief executive officer of YVOLV, confirmed that the cloud provider’s achievements in its home market China “can be replicated in the region.”

The project, he added, is in line with Dubai’s smart city initiative and the Gulf state’s strategic master plan “UAE vision 2021.” The latter aims to transform the UAE, a major oil supplier, to the world’s most competitive country.

Dubai, as one of the seven sheikhdoms forming the UAE, is considered its business and trade hub.

IT spending in the Middle East is expected to reach 212.9 billion U.S. dollars, which would represent a 3.7 percent year on year increase, Gartner, a U.S. IT research and consultancy firm said.