The Sino Cloud Shift: Unicom China Embraces Cloud Computing
The nation’s second-largest telecommunications operator by subscriber count, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited, recently announced that from now on it will offer cloud-based services to business ventures.
The announcement has made China Unicom the pioneer Sino-based telecom carrier to initiate saleable functioning of cloud computing services. The move comes primarily as an attempt to expand the company’s revenue generation sources. The announcement represents a significant leap towards a pronounced trend prevalent amongst telecommunications operators around the globe, triumphing over an unexciting growth rate in conventional network business by searching for novel business models aimed at providing fresh data services. In a Beijing news briefing, the company declared that becoming a cloud resources purveyor, a private cloud operator and an established cloud application architect were its core objectives.
Tian Wenke, GM of the company’s enterprise customer business development division, elaborated on the numerous collaboration options in store for established ventures and budding startups. Businesses can rent cloud servers and storage; set up indigenous, private cloud networks; test run cloud-based applications or acquire incorporated security packages from the company. Tian further elaborated: “The services aim to lower the cost to enterprises, since they have no need to buy bulky hardware and establish a system of their own. In addition, they will be more flexible and free as they can order services on demand.”
China Unicom has even come up with a dedicated fun-sounding Web portal—cloud.10010.com—to push customers towards said novel service.
Jiang Zhengxin, deputy general manager of China United Network Communications (China Unicom’s parent corporation) advocated that cloud-based services are bound to be the mainstream business for China Unicom in times to come. Jiang added: “If we look globally, the cloud-computing business is gradually becoming a reality. Introducing this cloud service is an important step in China Unicom’s transformation.”
China Unicom is a recognized shareholder in the country’s mobile and fixed-line broadband sector. The company is also the fastest-growing 3G wireless service provider. Sales in the Third Generation sector alone have lead to returns amounting to a mammoth $5.34 billion from over 40 million subscribers. Incorporating cloud technology into the services offered is set to take financial returns for China Unicom to a whole new level.
The other two dominant telecom carriers, China Mobile Limited and China Telecom Corporation, have also stepped in to actively participate in the cloud technology endorsement marathon. In fact, China Mobile invested a hefty ¥12 billion last November to set up China’s largest datacenter—a development that marks an important milestone in the cloud computing research and development initiated by the company back in 2007.
He Baohong, secretary general of cloud computing development at the Chinese Academy of Telecommunications Research describes cloud-equipped telecom operators as being at a “natural advantage”.
The progress pertinent to cloud technology in China is a crystal clear indication of the fact that the Chinese are utterly determined to improve their global standing in the cloud-based service market—a mere 4.7% in 2011, as compared to that of the United States, which happened to boast 58% during the same time period.
By Humayun Shahid