China's Kingsoft unveils full cloud services suite

Kingsoft Cloud Group officially launches its full suite of cloud services including hosting, storage, and developer database, and hopes its links with security and smart devices will give the company a competitive advantage.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Kingsoft Cloud Group has officially unveiled its full suite of cloud services including hosting, storage, drives, and a developer database, as the Chinese vendor looks to its links with security and smart devices to gain a competitive edge.

The cloud computing subsidiary of Internet security company, Kingsoft, this week added the range of cloud offerings to its existing enterprise storage and network disk services. 

Wang Yulin, president of Kingsoft, said in a China Tech News report that the country's cloud services market offers significant potential and sufficient room for multiple players. He said Kingsoft's cloud platform is supported by the parent company's expertise in security, as well as the game application and smart device sectors.

Wang noted that Kingsoft Cloud had established a close working relationship with up-and-coming device maker, Xiaomi, including a strong association with the latter's router.

In December 2012, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer invested US$1.82 million for a 9.87 percent stake in Kingsoft. Kingsoft Cloud in August 2013 also secured US$20 million in its first round funding. 

Cloud computing is a key component in the Chinese government's 12th Five-Year Plan, and the country has more than 40 public cloud projects that are currently underway. According to the China Software Industry Association, the Chinese cloud service market is projected to be valued at US$122 billion by 2015, driven by similar growth drivers as other markets such as reducing maintenance costs and plug-and-play data storage. 

Enticed by the market potential, U.S. cloud services provider Amazon Web Services said it would make available some of its services from within China starting this year. Such services will be based on computing and network infrastructure provided by Chinese datacentre operators and ISPs, including ChinaNetCenter and SINNET. 

China's regulations mandate foreign cloud providers must partner infrastructure companies to do business in the country.

Despite the expected growth, the market is still in the early adoption phase, specifically, the public cloud segment. With a projected US$1 billion revenue last year, China's public cloud services market would account for only 0.43 percent of the world's overall revenue, which Gartner predicted would hit US$131 billion by end-2013

The country's inconsistent broadband accessibility also remains a barrier to adoption of public cloud services. In a previous ZDNet report, Chris Morris, IDC's associate vice president for Asia-Pacific services practice, said broadband connectivity in China was not consistent or continuous. As such, the "global model of a mega-datacenter servicing one market" would not be conducive in the Chinese market.

The average Web connection speed in the country clocked at just 3.14Mbps last year, according to a Xinhua report. In comparison, South Korean clocked speeds of 14.7Mbps, while Hong Kong reached 54.1Mbps. 

Web connection woes, however, are expected to improve as local telcos look to upgrade their broadband infrastructure and roll out LTE networks

With an online user population of more than 618 million, there's certainly much potential for growth in China's cloud market. 

Alibaba's cloud service unit, Aliyun, just last month inked an agreement with Neusoft to jointly promote both companies' cloud services in the government, enterprise, and IT sectors. The partnership encompasses products and services as well as marketing efforts, including Neusoft's SaCa and UniEAP products which will support deployment and maintenance on the Aliyun cloud platform.

Microsoft last month also announced the general availability of its Azure platform in China via its local partner 21Vianet, making it the first global public cloud services provider in the country. 

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