Microsoft aiming to double its cloud capacity in China

By Ma Si | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-14 07:00

Microsoft aiming to double its cloud capacity in China

Attendees play a virtual hockey game at the Internet of Things booth on the expo floor during the Microsoft Developers Build Conference in Seattle, May 11, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Microsoft Corp is doubling its cloud capacity in China, which will enable the US tech giant to serve nearly 200,000 corporate cloud customers locally in 2018, Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft in China, said.

The move is designed to meet the increasing demand from local customers and comes amid rising competition from rivals such as Amazon Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

"We are doubling cloud capacity in China. (When the plan is finished), we will be able to serve nearly 200,000 cloud customers," Crozier said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

He declined to disclose specific investment figures.

In April, the US tech giant said it had more than 80,000 corporate customers for its Azure cloud services in China, covering industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail and education.

As local companies accelerate their digital transformation, Microsoft said it aims to have a triple-digit growth in Azure cloud services in China this year, as it did in 2016.

"The cloud technology is getting mature and big State-owned companies and small-and-medium-sized enterprises are becoming more willing to adopt cloud solutions," Crozier said.

Microsoft's cloud customers include startups such as bike-sharing company Mobike and big companies such as Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co Ltd, one of the largest port crane manufacturers in the world.

Cloud computing offers customers shared access to software or the processing power of retailers, which they can use over the internet. The models help clients save costs, because they only have to pay for the resources they use, such as utility bills.

Microsoft's beefed up investment in China follows moves by arch rival Amazon, which officially launched its cloud service in Beijing last year through a partnership with a local company.

According to Alain, however, Microsoft's experience in offering tailor-made cloud solutions and doubled cloud capacity in China will give it an edge in the battle for supremacy in the country, which is one of the world's biggest IT spenders.

China's cloud computing industry is forecast to worth 430 billion yuan ($63.3 billion) in 2019, up from 150 billion yuan in 2015, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology show.

Charlie Dai, head analyst at Forrester Research Inc, said the Chinese cloud market was still in its infancy, but it is already a fiercely competitive sector.

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