It's one of the greatest basic tenets of a free market economy: the more choices users have, the better off overall the entire system is. This has proven itself out on several fronts, and seems to have proven itself afresh with news of the Chinese cloud computing sector. Specifically, it's becoming clear that there are many more competitors getting into the field, and that's shaking things up to the consumer's overall benefit.
One of the biggest giveaways that the cloud computing market is fundamentally changing in China was the announcement that IBM and 21Vianet Group were looking to partner up and bring a new cloud computing platform along with it. But hot on the heels of this news came more, that Amazon was bringing in its own cloud computing system. It didn't stop there, either, as news from the Chinese home front put Tianyi Cloud, Ali Cloud, Tencent Cloud and several others as making moves in the sector, bringing even some price cuts along for the ride.
Some have even called what's going on a “Warring States” era of cloud computing service provision, as more and more companies enter the fray, each desperate to take over the top slot. In this one, however, there's a lot more outside help than ever before; Chinese laws are very careful in terms of what businesses are allowed into the country, so names like Amazon, IBM (News - Alert) and Microsoft—who also has a stake in the field—are left to join up with local firms, and put some compromise measures into effect, a development that doesn't always sit well.
The nature of China's government also makes for some unpleasant conditions, as much of the government's cloud efforts are run by Tianyi Cloud thanks to a long-term partnership. Ali Cloud and Tencent Cloud, therefore, have few opportunities in the state-run ventures field. Indeed, at last report, it's a particular blow to Ali Cloud, which formerly was pretty much the head of the cloud computing market in China until Tencent Cloud and Tianyi Cloud got involved.
The newest reports suggest that the next big battlefront for cloud computing in China will be for the small business, and even the individual user. That's a substantial market, but it's also one of the most uncertain as cloud developments for individuals are much different than those for businesses, commonly.
Still, it's very good news for the consumer, because with such a clear impetus for the cloud providers, said businesses will have to work particularly hard in terms of offering up cloud services specifically geared toward users. Things like cloud storage for music and videos might be a great place for the companies to start looking, as well as possibly navigation services to help users get around. With so many mobile devices in the field in China, that may be another place to find some potential sales dollars, as customers can keep fewer things stored locally and more things stored in the cloud.
Either way, though, the small business and individual user market for cloud services in China is likely to be one that's packed with new offerings, and good prices for the Chinese user base.
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