As of this week, Microsoft now has added a fifth Chinese Azure region to its line-up. The new North China region in Hebei doubles the capacity of Microsoft's cloud portfolio in China, officials said in a blog post on March 3.
Microsoft announced its plans to offer Azure in China through partner 21ViaNet in 2012. The first two Azure regions in China opened in 2014 and came to offer not only Azure, but also Office 365, Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
Microsoft officials claimed to be the first international public cloud service generally available in China. Microsoft officials cited an IDC study that said China has become the fastest growing public cloud market in the world, with year-over-year growth at 49.7 percent.
Microsoft officials said that the company plans to offer a number of Azure services in China in 2022, including Azure Availability Zones, Azure Arc multi-cloud management and Azure Purview, its data-governance solution.
Microsoft officials noted when Azure first came to China that only a Chinese company can set up and operate a cloud computing platform in that country. They added that Microsoft has no access to the 21Vianet's data center hosting its Azure service unless its partner agrees to access and only to provide support and troubleshooting knowhow
Microsoft has more than 200 physical datacenters worldwide serving more than a billion cloud customers and 20 million companies worldwide, officials said. In April last year, officials said the company is on pace to build between 50 and 100 new data centers per year.