Cloud computing is a hot topic right now and looks likely to continue to be so for some time to come. It has been described as being the technology that will bring such significant changes to the IT industry that we’re looking at something of a revolution in terms of what it can do for both consumers and business models alike.

China, as one of the world’s emerging economies, is looking to become a global leader in cloud and is currently making significant investments into cloud initiatives in order to reach that goal. The Chinese government is planning to put RMB 1.1 trillion ($1.73.2bn) into the development of key cloud computing hubs, starting with a number of test cities.

Five pilot cities have already been established by Chinese government ministries MIIT and NDRC: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Wuxi. Financial support has been put into place.

One study carried out into the cloud industry in China found that 20% of IT executives and CIOs currently use cloud-based solutions, whilst 46% said they are evaluating or testing solutions for use within their organisation.

In addition to this, Microsoft recently announced that they are to launch their accelerator program for Windows Azure in China, an initiative that supports high-growth start-ups with a focus on “innovation, entrepreneurship and technology”, the program will look at helping young companies develop cloud-based business.

Similar initiatives have also been introduced in India and Israel in coordination with Microsoft’s Global Development Centres, all of which are also intended to “drive adoption of the cloud platform”.

“We decided to launch the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure in China because we believe the perfect combination of factors are present here that will have the potential to inspire great new product ideas,” said S. Somasegar, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, responsible for Microsoft Server & Tools Business’ GDCs and Developer Division.

“The new breed of entrepreneurs emerging combined with a strong VC and Angel investor network means new companies have the foundation to innovate successfully in a large and growing domestic market. And with the access to the global markets that the Cloud technologies bring, there are possibilities for growth that are almost unlimited.”

Whilst initially the “accelerator” will be based in Beijing, Microsoft intends to further expand operations into Shanghai sometime in the near future.

Last year saw China spend $286 million on its cloud computing infrastructure, according to researchers at IDC, based on a study they conducted in May. IDC also commented that cloud technology is one of the fastest growing industries in China and is expected to account for 7.6% of the global IT market this year.

The Chinese central government recently approved a National Cloud Computing Industry Development Plan and it’s thought that as a part of the country’s 12th Five-Year-Plan, cloud will be a major driver and chief component of the Chinese IT industry and e-government.

In addition to the five pilot cities, 8 other provinces have also announced cloud strategies and it’s thought that once all of these are put into place “China will have more than 10 million cloud-computing servers worth a total investment of $270 billion”.

However, IDC said that at the moment, just 30% of Chinese organisations can provide detailed plans of cloud-based applications.
“Governments and enterprises should avoid over-investment and have detailed plans before they spend money,” said Thomas Zhou, a senior research manager at IDC China.

IDC research also found that China’s plans for cloud could create more than 14 million jobs globally as they forge ahead with their plans to become “a global technology innovation powerhouse”.

Maytech provides cloud file sharing and storage service that enables companies with business partners in China to exchange files reliably and securely.