China Telecom, operator of the country's largest fixed-line network, is planning a big foray into cloud-computing services on the mainland through a partnership with Tokyo-based Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ).
The announcement yesterday comes a month after IIJ, an information-technology services provider that serves more than 600 companies in Japan, established a local subsidiary in Shanghai called IIJ Global Solutions China.
China Telecom and IIJ plan to make their portfolio of cloud-computing programmes available this summer, targeting both domestic businesses and Japanese companies doing business on the mainland. Financial details were not given.
Cloud computing enables companies and consumers to buy, lease, sell or distribute over the internet as well as private networks a vast range of software, business systems, data and other digital resources, including storage, as an on-demand service, like electricity from a power grid.
Such resources are hosted in data centres. 'Cloud' refers to the internet, and is depicted in a like symbol in computer network diagrams.
China Telecom will offer its extensive fixed-line network and data centres across the country to the cloud-computing venture, while IIJ will build and operate a cloud-computing platform that will offer software, technology platforms and infrastructure to corporate customers.
Market research firm Ovum has forecast that spending by Asia-Pacific enterprises on cloud services over the internet could reach as US$12 billion in 2016, compared with an estimated US$2.9 billion last year.
In a report, technology research company IDC predicted that about 90 per cent of telecommunications service providers in the Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, will have brought a broad range of cloud-computing services to the market by the end of this year, either through their own investments or under alliances.
'In the next 24 months, the 'cloud' as a marketing label will cease to exist, as the success of cloud services will mean that it will permeate the sourcing strategies of companies' chief information officers and business unit managers alike', said Chris Morris, the lead analyst for cloud services at IDC Asia-Pacific.
Last month in Hong Kong, the fixed-line network unit of Hutchison Telecommunications teamed up with information technology giant Oracle, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and other major carriers in a consortium - the Asia-Pacific Cloud Alliance - that aims to accelerate adoption of cloud computing services by businesses across the region.