November 01, 2011
A piece at MIT's Technology Review introduces us to Edward Tian, the prominent Chinese entrepreneur best known for bringing broadband Internet to China and the man responsible for the creation of China's Cloud Valley. Located in Beijing, the 7,000-square-meter technology campus is a nexus for China's booming cloud computing industry.
Tian's grand plan for the campus is to develop a complete supply chain for a domestic cloud solution, an advance that Tian believes will catapault China into the 21st century.
The cloud offers a path for businesses, individual users, and government departments to benefit from the latest technologies without having to create the hardware and software platforms that on their own take years to develop. By moving the data and applications onto remote servers, costs are reduced and powerful software can be accessed by low-cost devices, like smart phones and laptops.
In Tian's words, such advances are even more important for China than the West:
"With the cloud, you could have access to unlimited storage power with a very simple computer," he notes. "The cost of a computer could be like a book, maybe $100; all you'd really need is display. And this is fundamental for China, which is still a very poor country. To me, the goal of promoting cloud computing is to let every citizen — particularly those people in underdeveloped regions — afford computing access and information. My slogan is 'The price of a book, the power of a supercomputer.'"
Tian's aspirations are reflected in the Chinese government's five-year plan. Released in March, it lists information technology as one of seven strategic "emerging industries" slated to receive $600 billion in development funds. The newly-created Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has been tasked with fostering the growing cloud computing industry.
China faces several obstacles on the road to a robust cloud computing ecosystem, among them slow Internet speeds, poor uptimes and security concerns. These issues will need to be adressed, but Tian remains optimistic:
"With every technology revolution, you create a new set of problems," he says. "But you must compare that with the efficiency and convenience that the new technology brings."
Full story at Technology Review
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