Microsoft will open a new Azure region in China next year to strengthen the company’s coverage in China. The demand for cloud services in this region is expected to soar. The cloud computing giant announced that China’s fifth Azure region will be launched in 2022 through the company’s local operating partner 21Vianet.
A Microsoft Azure region is a set of data centers deployed in a certain range and connected through a dedicated regional low-latency network.
As the new region develops, the company hopes to double the capacity of its cloud product portfolio in China in the next few years.
Chinese customers will be able to use Azure’s computing, network, analysis, and IoT services; it is also applicable to productivity platform Microsoft Office 365 and business applications Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.
Alain Crozier, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Greater China, said: “The upcoming regions will have enhanced capabilities to help further cultivate local talents, stimulate local innovation, develop local technology ecosystems, and enable companies from all walks of life to achieve better Many achievements.”
Foreign cloud providers in China are not allowed to own and operate their own data centers in the country. Therefore, Microsoft has been cooperating with Chinese infrastructure company 21Vianet to conduct business in the country for many years.
Although it is built on the same cloud technology basis as its global counterparts, China’s Azure region is physically separated from Microsoft’s global cloud.
Microsoft and 21Vianet launched the first two Azure regions in 2014, and Microsoft claims that this is the first international public cloud service generally available in the Chinese market.
In the same year, Microsoft Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform were launched in the country, which is also operated by 21Vianet.
Although China’s telecommunications law has special restrictions, global cloud computing companies have been particularly interested in expanding their influence in China. There are good reasons: China’s cloud service demand is still growing at an unprecedented rate, even though compared with other markets.
Despite this, Chinese companies still occupy a clear dominant position: Alibaba has more than 46% market share, Tencent and Baidu rank second (18%) and third (8.8%) respectively. But Microsoft China is closely followed by AWS, which cooperates with some telecommunications companies in China, including ChinaNetCenter and SINNET. IBM is also cooperating with 21Vianet to manage its cloud infrastructure services.
Google has not yet tapped the huge potential of China’s cloud market. The search giant recently abandoned a project called “Isolated Areas”, which will enable the company to establish cloud services in the country through a third-party infrastructure provider for the first time.