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BLOG: Microsoft brings Windows Azure to China – is this the start of a new era?

Charlie Dai, Analyst, Forrester | May 28, 2013
I believe that a new chapter of cloud is going to be written by a new ecosystem in China market, and Microsoft will be the leader of this disruption.

Back in October 2011, Microsoft named the initiative to introduce Windows Azure cloud platform into Chinese market “Moon Cake”, - representing harmony and happiness in Chinese culture. On May 23rd 2013, Microsoft made the announcement in Shanghai that Windows Azure will be available in Chinese market starting from June 6th,  almost half a year after its agreement with Shanghai government and 21ViaNet to operate Windows Azure together last November. Chinese customers will be able to “taste” this foreign moon cake.

I believe that a new chapter of cloud is going to be written by a new ecosystem in China market, and Microsoft will be the leader of this disruption. My reasons:

  • The cloud market in China will be more disrupted.  Due to the regulatory limitations on data center and related telecom value-added services operations for foreign players, the cloud market for both infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) has been an easy battlefield for local players, such as Alibaba/HiChina. Microsoft’s innovative way working with both government and local service partners to breakthrough this great wall show all the major global giants, such as Amazon the great opportunity from this approach to the Chinese market. We could anticipate their coming in the next 6-18 months. 
  • Microsoft’s launch will trigger customer awareness and investment.  In my report “PaaS Market Dynamics in China, 2012 To 2017”, I forecasted that the Chinese government has a strong need to invest in cloud computing to drive economic growth. End users are pretty clear about the scalability and cost effectiveness of cloud, however they lack examples of innovative business practices which leverage the cloud. The real customer success cases showcased in the Shanghai event by Microsoft and other partners, such as the Cloud ERP K/3 from Kingdee, Internet TV broadcasting service from PPTV, automobile connected service from Qoros, and business card service integrated with Microsoft Office 365,  all architected over Windows Azure, will boost customer awareness and corresponding investment
  • The cloud ecosystem in China will be transformed. End users in China market lack highly skilled DevOps professionals for cloud enablement. In comparison to VMware’s proactive initiative to build up community and reputation on its Cloud Foundry, Microsoft seems to be conservative. With the availability of Windows Azure starting from public cloud, I could expect that Microsoft will fully leverage its huge developer base around .Net and Windows in China and transform them into cloud enabled experts to support the public and private cloud initiatives. On the other hand, I believe a new set of ISVs and partners will emerge and take up market share by leveraging the power of Windows Azure locally and globally.


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