Published: 10:48, February 26, 2024 | Updated: 10:52, February 26, 2024
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Prospects bright for cloud computing amid tech leaps
By Cheng Yu

Nation's digital infrastructure aims to reach globally advanced level by 2025

Visitors try virtual reality solutions of Cloudsky in a VR conference in Qingdao, Shandong province, in July 2023. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Forward-looking Chinese companies are seeing a "sunny" future of global expansion via the "cloud", amid China's sharpening focus on new productive forces like cloud computing and artificial intelligence, said a company executive.

"Cloud computing has developed fast in China in recent years. Chinese cloud computing firms have their own unique advantages on the global stage," said Crusoe Mao, founder and chairman of Cloudsky, a leading provider of cloud computing infrastructure and services.

Mao, who has been a tech veteran previously working in Silicon Valley and has led Sony's PlayStation VR project, said that Chinese authorities, from top to down, have put cloud computing high on the agenda, betting it to become a new productive force to compete on the global stage.

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In China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the country made it clear that the capabilities of its digital infrastructure, including cloud computing, 5G, internet of things, and industrial internet should reach "globally advanced levels".

"On the one hand, such intensified efforts will unleash great potential of the vast Chinese market that boasts rich digital application cases. As needs for digital life are common worldwide, Chinese companies are able to bring the most efficient computing power solutions implemented in China to other countries and regions, such as AI, cloud games, virtual reality and augmented reality," Mao said.

On the other hand, he noted that China's 5G network and other digital infrastructure have gained a leading position in the world.

"It will offer a higher foundation for the development of cloud computing and related digital application industries, so that Chinese companies able to expand our global reach with faster speeds and better solutions," he added.

Founded in 2016 with over 350 global employees currently, Cloudsky mainly offers real-time decision-making and rapid response capabilities leveraging cloud computing technology solutions. It has partnered with leading cloud service providers, telecommunications carriers, large well-known internet platforms and gaming developers.

Last year, Cloudsky inked a strategic partnership with Saudi Excellence Co, an investment company under AI-Ramez International Group, in digital transformation. It has also established a partnership with Saudi Telecom to advance the development of a 5G edge cloud infrastructure.

Sheikh Abdullah Zaid Al-Meleihi, CEO of AI-Ramez, said: "This alliance marks a significant step in our mission to assist Saudi Arabia in developing a comprehensive digital economy ecosystem. It will catalyze and transform the future of emerging technologies in the entire region."

Since ChatGPT maker OpenAI from the United States stepped up the global artificial intelligence race last year, and unveiled its text-to-video generation tool Sora in mid-February, Mao said that it will prompt cloud computing firms.

"The demand for computing power in emerging application scenarios such as AI is the fundamental reason for competition in computing power and cloud computing power. It is also the reason why computing power heavily relies on the semiconductor industry," Mao explained.

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But the development of cloud computing can directly alleviate the pressure on advanced chips through diverse cloud solutions, and help companies boost computing power.

According to a plan unveiled by ministries including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last year, China will step up efforts to build its computing power, which will give the country an edge in building up its digital economy and injecting new vitality into the intelligent transformation of its industries.

The plan said the country aims to have its total computing power reach 300 Eflops by 2025. Eflops is a unit of the speed of computer systems. It equals to one quintillion floating-point operations per second.

"As China and global demands for computing power continue to soar, cloud computing will be widely accepted and used on a global scale. Chinese companies will have a market as broad as the sky," Mao said.