Cloud computing enters ‘golden time’ in China with artificial intelligence boom

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – With artificial intelligence (AI) booming across the world, cloud computing as its supportive infrastructure enters the “golden time” for development, the Economic Information Daily reported on Thursday (Oct 12).

The newspaper said that the wide use of AI cannot happen without cloud computing, which helps improve efficiency hardware usage and avoid idleness and waste of the resources. And this reflects in the price: cloud computing provides the same services for 1 yuan that traditional IT companies offer for four yuan (S$0.82).

In July, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued guidelines on AI development, and AI projects and other areas related to AI, such as big data, cloud computing, quantum computing, and brain science, have also been proposed.

The guideline set three stages for AI development by 2030: catch up with the advanced global levels in AI technology and application by 2020, make major breakthroughs in basic theories by 2025, and become a global innovation centre in this field by 2030.

The total output value of AI industry is expected to exceed one trillion yuan.

CNBC cited a report from Goldman Sachs earlier last month (September) that the initial benefits of AI are expected to go to China’s three large internet companies: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, collectively known as BAT.

This is because the three have substantial and unique data sets and the right size of resources to take advantage of the technology.

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced in June that it plans to open data centres in India and Indonesia, sending its total number of data centre locations to 17, which include China, Australia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

At the same time, Tencent also said in April that Tencent Cloud, its cloud computing arm, will establish five more data centres this year in Silicon Valley, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Seoul and Moscow.

However, head of data centre Zhong Yuanhe of Tencent technical engineering group said to The Paper in June that the total number of servers in data centres of BAT even misses to catch up a half size of Amazon, whose subsidiary, Amazon Web Services (AWS), provides cloud computing services to businesses.

In addition, the lack of recognised standard for these data centres is another concern.

Alibaba Group vice-president Liu Song told Economic Information Daily that China could try to establish a standard for building a data centre by referring to those of leading international enterprises and requirement of large-scale public cloud computing.