Cloud driving Asia Pacific growth
Cloud computing is helping power rapid growth throughout Asia Pacific. The region's sprawling geography and lack of legacy technologies have helped make the cloud the delivery mechanism of choice for public services, banking, e-commerce and more. Kenneth Ho reports.
Since the 1800s, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) has grown to over $1.5 trillion today and will exceed $2 trillion within the next few years. China is predicted to jump from a GDP of $8 trillion to $48 trillion by 2050. A similar high-growth scenario is being played out in other emerging markets around the world.
With many multinational corporations (MNCs) finding that established markets have reached saturation, these emerging markets offer millions of potential new customers. Microsoft’s fastest-growing market is Brazil, while Apple’s is China. These burgeoning markets are also helping power a whole range of new home-grown companies.
A robust information communications technology (ICT) infrastructure is instrumental in driving business success and helping transition these economies from emerging to developed.
opportunity: leapfrogging legacy technology
Without legacy infrastructure to hold them back, many companies and users in the Asia Pacific are early technology adopters. They are skipping entire generations of technologies, such as landline phones, which are still very common in mature markets. This is helping them take the lead in newer standards and technologies, such as cloud computing.
Consider the mobile phone market: even in areas that lack the most basic infrastructure like good roads, mobile phones can be found in big numbers. Throughout densely-populated China and India, there are literally hundreds of millions of mobile users – 860 million and 750 million respectively – significantly ahead of the U.S. with 280 million. This penetration allows businesses to deliver services to people who could not ordinarily access them.
Mobile broadband and cloud computing are also driving opportunities through devices like inexpensive PCs and the $50 tablet initiative. Cloud services, such as software as a service (SaaS), can reach these users because they don’t require the fastest processors or biggest hard drives to work. While in some parts of various emerging Asia Pacific nations where fixed broadband may not be available, 3G and 4G networks offer mobile broadband alternatives.
As emerging economies grow, so too does their demand for IT-enabled solutions. At the moment, many of the customized enterprise solutions hosted in Europe and North America are impractical for emerging nations in Asia Pacific. In India, for example, power requirements make hosting data centers cost-prohibitive for all but the largest enterprises. A shift to cloud services can help create a viable business case for smaller and medium-sized companies to access similar solutions.
public sector cloud: investing in APAC's future
Governments in Asia Pacific have also identified the potential benefits of cloud-hosted services and are making huge investments across public sector entities. Cloud services provide better value to taxpayers by making ICT use more efficient.
China: transforming cities through cloud computing
Public sector cloud adoption in China is being driven at the local level in cities such as Dongying and Wuxi. The Yellow River Delta Cloud Computing Center, being built by IBM, will provide a cloud-based platform for the petroleum industry to develop more innovative application services. In Wuxi, the local government has developed a Cloud Services Factory to provide computing resources to enterprises located in the Wuxi Software Park. The Asia Cloud Computing Association predicts investment in Chinese cloud computing projects of US$154 billion over the next few years in line with China's 12th Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development.
Hong Kong: new focus on sustainable cloud
The Hong Kong Government began to roll out its new IT strategy in 2011, with cloud computing as a major focus area. The Government is evaluating cloud computing for sharing infrastructure, software components and data. The cloud strategy focuses on structured adoption over a period of time rather than a hurried transformation, to ensure sustainable benefits for all.
Singapore: promoting cloud computing through subsidies
To give a helping hand to over 5,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the Infocommunications Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore has launched a cloud computing promotional initiative. The IDA is offering subsidies of between 50 and 100 percent to encourage SMEs to join its cloud-based iSPRINT (Increase SME Productivity with Infocomm Adoption and Transformation) program.
Malaysia: creating the right environment to push cloud services
Malaysia's government has named cloud computing the foremost strategic technology under its MSC Malaysia program. The Malaysian Information System Officer Association expects cloud computing to lead to increased transparency and reduced ICT expenditure by up to 50 percent, while improving efficiencies.
Kenneth Ho is the Security Practice Head at Orange Business Services Asia Pacific in Singapore.