US big-data company expands into China

Updated: 2014-12-13 06:28

By AMY HE in New York(China Daily USA)

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US-based tech company Cloudera, which specializes in big data services, will open three offices in China, the company announced.

The Palo Alto, California-based company already is in Asia with an office in Japan, but offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou will be the company's first in China.

Cloudera said it will provide local customers with technology to build their own data hubs using Apache Hadoop, software that helps store and distribute large data sets.

"We are making a big investment in a big opportunity," said Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly in a statement on Dec 10. "With the interest in open source software and big data being so strong, we expect fast growth and adoption in China."

Cloudera joins a number of other American tech firms that have expanded into China as US and Chinese companies try to leverage the large amount of data collected from the country's 1.3 billion consumers.

"Big data has now reached every sector in the global economy. Like other essential factors of production such as hard assets and human capital, much of modern economic activity simply couldn't take place without it," said Justin Zhan, director of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

"Looking ahead, there is huge potential to leverage big data in developing economies as long as the right conditions are in place," added Zhan, who is also the chair of the International Conference on Automated Software Engineering.

"With a strong economy, successful enterprises and local developers, China is a place for great products and services powered by big data technologies like Cloudera," said George Ling, general manager of Cloudera China, in the company statement. "The new China offices give us an opportunity to showcase our local talent in an important and savvy market, with the ability to address changes in the local economy with sensitivity to cultural dynamics ultimately ensuring our customers' success."

Zhan said that China is already leading the region for personal location data in the area of mobile technology, given the sheer number of mobile phone users in the country. According to December 2013 estimates from Reuters, there were about 1.23 billion mobile phone users in China.

"The possibilities of big data continue to evolve rapidly, driven by innovation in the underlying technologies, platforms, and analytic capabilities for handling data, as well as the evolution of behavior among its users as more and more individuals live digital lives," Zhan said, adding that US companies can help China in this aspect because tech firms here lead big data research and will eventually provide the foundation for big data business in countries like China.

Ge Yong, assistant professor of computer science at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said that there are many opportunities for US companies to help with big data management in China, particularly in the information technology sector.

"There are areas in which Chinese companies do really well - such as Alibaba with e-commerce big data - but in certain sectors, US companies have more mature analytic tools to apply to Chinese businesses," Ge said.

NetApp, another California-based data management company, entered China in 2007 and has since opened 15 branches in China across Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenzhen.

"With our innovation, our selling relationships, and our great work environments and employees, NetApp believes it has the recipe to continue to grow successfully in China," wrote Jonathan Kissane, senior vice-president and chief strategy officer at NetApp, in an e-mail to China Daily.

"Companies around the globe have common challenges meeting their business needs with increasing volumes of critical data and the need for business flexibility. Data is the heart of business innovation and customer want to free data to move unbound across private and public clouds," he wrote.