IBM SoftLayer has partnered with Tencent, one of China’s largest Internet companies that claims to have about one billion users, to build an enterprise cloud in China, leveraging IBM’s enterprise know-how with Tencent’s reach in the country. The joint offerings will range from infrastructure and applications to consulting.
Tencent will use IBM’ recently opened SoftLayer cloud center in Hong Kong as part of the agreement.
China remains of high interest to service providers looking to tap the fastest growing cloud market. However, tapping that growth is not simple due to politics, culture, and “the Great Firewall of China.” Global tech companies often partner with local players to establish themselves in the market.
IBM also has a partnership with Chinese cloud service provider 21Vianet. CenturyLink partnered with local data center provider GDS to establish a data center in Shanghai to gain physical presence for its cloud in China.
Microsoft Azure also entered China by partnering with 21Vianet. Amazon partnered with ChinaNetCenter to establish an Amazon Web Services cloud availability region there. Apple outsources iCloud storage to China Telecom. Oracle is working on bringing a cloud data center to China as well.
IBM and Tencent are creating public cloud services tailored to specific industries.
“What makes this especially appealing for businesses is the industry dimension," said Nancy Thomas, managing partner with IBM's Business Consulting Services in China. “IBM and Tencent's shared vision is not only to bring the scale and cost benefits of cloud computing to enterprises in China, but to add differentiating value by serving the particular needs of different industries -- that is the key to unlocking the transformative power of cloud computing."