Wanda’s tech unit eyes leadership role in China’s public cloud market within five years
Wanda Internet Technology said it will officially launch its public cloud service in China in the first quarter of next year after it inked a partnership deal with IBM in March.
Despite being a latecomer to the sector, Chinese property-to-entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has plans to become one of the country’s biggest public cloud providers in five years by leveraging IBM’s knowhow in cloud computing and an investment estimated at “billions of renminbi”, a company official said.
“We aim to become one of the major players in pubic cloud business in China because there will be no room left for small participants in five years,” said Sean Yang, the vice-president and chief technology officer at Wanda Internet Technology, a unit of Wanda Group.
Yang is positioning Wanda as a high-end public cloud provider, serving only big enterprises that prefer value over price.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post on Wednesday, Yang laid out the roadmap for the future development of the company’s cloud business, which only kicked off in March after a partnership deal was inked between Wanda Internet Technology and IBM, one of the leading public cloud providers in the world.
Through a newly formed venture called Wanda Cloud Company, the two parties will offer selected IBM cloud infrastructure and platforms in China, according to IBM’s statement in March.
Yang, who joined the Shanghai-based Wanda Internet Technology from Microsoft earlier this year, said the public cloud service will officially launch in the first quarter of 2018 after a trial run scheduled in the fourth quarter this year.
“After establishing the cloud service, we will bring the IBM Watson AI technology to China in June 2018,” said Yang, who is a featured speaker at this week’s AI Summit Hong Kong 2017.
The move will put Wanda in competition with Chinese internet giants Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, currently the top two players in China’s nascent public cloud market. Alibaba owns the Post.
Yang said the funding situation of the parent firm “shouldn’t have any impact” on Wanda Technology Internet’s cloud business. The Chinese government has restricted funding access for tycoon Wang Jianlin’s Wanda Group after the firm breached restrictions on overseas investments, the Post reported earlier this month.
In fact, Yang said the tech company is planning to invest “billions of RMB” to build many data centres in China, mostly in developed cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen to serve big enterprises such as banks and telecommunications companies.
The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 18 per cent this year to US$246.8 billion, according to research firm Gartner.
While China’s cloud service market is still developing and several years behind the United States and European markets, it is expected to see high levels of growth as digital transformation becomes more mainstream over the next five years, a Gartner report said in February.