China's 'Silicon Valley' takes shape

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | | Updated: 2017-08-15 14:36

Guizhou province, which hopes to build itself into China's "Big Data Valley", is looking to link up with Silicon Valley.

"Silicon Valley is the heart of the world's innovation, so we attach great importance to cooperation with the US, especially Silicon Valley," said Qin Rupei, vice-governor of Guizhou, at a conference on Friday in San Jose, California.

The conference, which drew more than 200 participants from high-tech and entrepreneurial communities, was aimed at promoting China's first national Big Data pilot zone in the southwestern province.

In 2015, China adopted Big Data as a national development strategy and the efforts of Guizhou were recognized by the central government. In early 2016, the National Big Data Comprehensive Pilot Zone was established in Guizhou, with the goal of improving the government's administrative abilities, promoting industrial transformation and upgrading, as well as improving people's livelihood through Big Data services.

"While developing the Big Data industry, we have been emphasizing opening-up," said Qin. "Guizhou's rapid economic growth and increasing level of opening-up makes the province suitable for other countries to participate in developing a ‘Big Data Valley', providing broader markets and more diverse business opportunities."

The province has begun building green data centers at 12 national pilot sites. The 12 centers can load 13,400 racks and support installation of 158,000 servers. By 2020, those centers are expected to load 2 million servers, with an industrial chain value of more than $15 billion, according to the Guizhou Provincial Leading Group for Big Data Development.

"Guizhou enjoys the advantages that the Big Data industry requires. It is one of the most suitable places for developing big data in China or in the world," Qin said.

The advantages include a favorable ecological environment with average annual temperatures of 59 degrees Fahrenheit, abundant hydropower and thermal-power resources, a stable underlying geologic structure far from seismic faults and supportive policies.

To attract enterprises to the pilot zone, the province has introduced favorable policies on taxes, land use, logistics, electricity prices, financial services and personnel training.

The province incorporates Big Data projects in urban planning and annual planning for land use, and offers broadband rent subsidies to Big Data companies, according to the provincial big data group.

Chinese tech companies like Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Huawei have set up research and development centers in the pilot zone.

Tencent has been working with Guizhou in such areas as smart city, poverty relief and chronic disease management. The company also plans to locate its data backup center for disaster recovery in the province. Foxconn has located a 4th-generation industrial park, green tunnel data center and R&D center in Guizhou.

Big international companies have also established partnerships with Guizhou.

Qualcomm, which set up regional headquarters for China in Guizhou, has invested in an integrated circuit industry to develop server chips for the Chinese market. Microsoft is working with the province to build a "bulk data" laboratory, education cloud and a cloud for middle- and small-sized enterprises. Google is developing international e-commerce projects for targeted marketing through global big data analysis.

Last month, Guizhou and Apple signed an iCloud strategic cooperation agreement, under which Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co will become the unique service provider of Apple to improve user experience. The two parties will collaborate to build a big data center in Guian New Area, a national-level new urban district in Guizhou.

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