City's tech firms in push for cloud computing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 April, 2012, 12:00am

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Hong Kong's most influential information and communications technology bodies have closed ranks to speed up the development of 'cloud computing' in the city, which hopes to keep pace with massive initiatives on the mainland.

The 'Hong Kong Cloud Standards Alliance' was formed yesterday. Its mission is to collaborate on government efforts to foster industry standards, policies, research and development, and a relevant legal structure, for the operation of cloud computing services.

Cloud computing enables companies and consumers to buy, lease, sell or distribute over the internet, as well as over private networks, a vast range of software at lower cost. 'Cloud' refers to the internet, which is depicted in that form in computer network diagrams.

'Many companies still have doubts about cloud-based services as standards, such as inter-operability and legal framework, as well as governance policies, are yet to be established,' said Stephen Lau Ka-men, president of the not-for-profit Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS).

The cloud alliance also includes the Communications Association of Hong Kong, the China/Hong Kong chapter of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, the Hong Kong Software Industry Association, the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, and Hong Kong Cyberport Management.

The Hong Kong government has been promoting the city as a regional data centre hub to entice cloud service providers. Google last August unveiled a US$300 million investment to build a new data centre here.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the mainland's economic agency, last November disbursed 660 million yuan (HK$810 million) to five cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Wuxi - involved in cloud computing pilots.

Research firm IDC estimated that spending on cloud computing services could produce US$1.1 trillion in new business revenue worldwide from 2011 to 2015.