Enterprise technology powerhouse Oracle aims to recruit 1,000 new sales staff across the Asia-Pacific region to drum up more business for its "cloud computing" operations. Of that total, Oracle had made it a priority to hire "260 cloud sales professionals in mainland China and 50 in Hong Kong within six months", Sujith Abraham, Oracle's group vice-president for strategy and sales development in Asia-Pacific, said yesterday. "We're going to be the number one cloud company in the world ... and China represents a very big business for us," he said. Cloud computing allows consumers and companies to buy, lease, sell or distribute software and other digital resources as a service over the internet, just like electricity from a power grid. These resources are hosted in data centres. "Cloud" refers to the internet. Oracle, which is based in Silicon Valley in the US state of California, operates in all three segments of the global cloud market: software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service. This fast-growing market includes other large multinational technology suppliers, such as SAP, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and NetSuite. Abraham said Oracle had drawn up an aggressive hiring target in Asia because the firm's cloud business was "increasing faster in this part of the world" on the back of the region's strong economic growth and extensive mobile and broadband networks. Under its new recruitment campaign, Oracle also plans to add 292 cloud sales professionals in India, 129 in Australia and New Zealand, 82 in South Korea and 171 in Southeast Asia, including 49 in Singapore. Abraham said there was stiff competition for skilled recruits on the mainland because of the country's booming internet sector. "We have a great opportunity in the market, and we're looking for people to train and develop in this environment," he said. Forrester Research has forecast that China's public cloud market will be valued at US$3.8 billion by 2020, while the global market will reach US$191 billion in the same period. In October last year, Oracle executive vice-president Thomas Kurian said Oracle was in discussions to partner with a number of mainland companies on a data centre to support cloud services in the country. Oracle, which has about 400,000 corporate customers worldwide, posted combined business software and cloud revenue of US$7.2 billion in its fiscal third quarter ending on February 28. Major cloud clients in Asia included mainland home appliances giant Haier, car manufacturer Geely and telecommunications operators PCCW and Hong Kong Broadband Network. Abraham declined to comment on efforts by the central government to limit the use of foreign technology in the country's public sector.