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Microsoft link-up creates China cloud syndrome

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China has been rather slow to adopt the cloud given the fact that they, firstly, have a reputation for embracing technology, and, secondly, are set to become a massive economic powerhouse in the coming years and decades. Meanwhile the United States, still by some distance the world’s largest economy, is already fully on board with the cloud revolution, and cloud computing now underpins such commonly used technology as Google Drive, iTunes and DropBox.

But the attitude of the world’s second largest economy to cloud computing is steadily changing, and there is an increasing indication that the big corporate players who will decide the future of this technology are investing in the Far Eastern nation.

“A new chapter of cloud is going to be written by a new ecosystem in China’s market, and Microsoft will be the leader of this disruption.” – Forrester

Microsoft have already announced last year that it is partnering with 21 Vianet, a company based in China, to sell emerging cloud technologies to Chinese consumers. And in a response to its apparent economic and technological travails, IBM has also made it clear that it is pursuing a similar joint venture. Microsoft has been particularly enthusiastic about the future of the cloud in China, though, describing their link-up with 21 Vianet as “the start of a new era”. It has also received a positive response from the analyst community, with research company Forrester predicting that “a new chapter of cloud is going to be written by a new ecosystem in China’s market, and Microsoft will be the leader of this disruption.”

This was just one example of significant cloud news in China, but it seems to have been a straw that broke the camel’s back.  Tail end of 2013, ABB, a Swiss firm involved in power and automation technology, announced that it has won an order to supply fifty-four 10 kilovolt dry-type transformers for an R & D and data storage centre in Tianjin, China. This centre is owned by Tencent, one of China’s largest internet service providers.

This has been necessary because Tencent is significantly expanding its cloud computing and R & D capabilities. The firm has already built and established data centres using environmentally-friendly and energy efficient technologies, with two in particular based in Shanghai and Shenzhen. With the company growing significantly in northern China, the new datacentre is an indication of Tencent’s intent to build serious cloud infrastructure within the nation.

While this is another indication of the move within China to develop a cloud-based infrastructure, there are many others which have recently appeared on the horizon. Barely a week goes by nowadays without a new Chinese cloud arrangement being announced, and it is evident that the sluggish adoption of this technology by the Chinese establishment is well and truly a thing of the past.

China has recently set up a cloud computing industry alliance with the aim of promoting the development and innovation of information technology, with a particular focus on cloud technology.

Earlier this week, German business software maker SAP AG and China Telecom announced a strategic partnership in cloud computing. As a result of this, the SAP Cloud portfolio will be offered to organisations throughout China by the China Datacom Corporation Limited (CDC). CDC is a joint venture between SAP and China Communication Services or CCS, a subsidiary of the China Telecom Group, and is a significant part of the telecommunications infrastructure in China, and the partnership was taken as an indication that CDC will be looking to offer considerable support for the cloud in the coming years.

This news followed on from an announcement that China has recently set up a cloud computing industry alliance. This alliance has been based in Beijing with the aim of promoting the development and innovation of information technology, with a particular focus on cloud technology. This was the first of its kind in China, being jointly established by Tsinghua and Peking Universities and the Center for International Economic and Technological Cooperation, which operates under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China.

When one puts these snippets of news together, all of which are occurring within a timescale of just a couple of months, it is quite clear that China is moving forward rapidly with the adoption of the cloud. This must be seen as significant given the country’s increasingly prominent economic position, and signals that the world’s two largest economies are fully embracing this technology.

If anyone doubted the coming prominence of cloud computing, it’s time to change your opinion.