Dr Gang Lu (China) - Comments on Cloud Computing in China - Part 2

With the expansion development of smart phones and 3G/4G networks, Dr Gang Lu, Chief Executive at TechNode, details the technologies that are showing the most promise in China.


With the rapid development of smart phones and 3G/4G networks, the mobile cloud computing market is showing huge potential. In Part I, we looked at the positive comments on Cloud Computing in China from both phone manufacturer and traditional internet companies.

Apart from mobile cloud computing in China, we also briefly touched on an emerging market in Smart TV. Meanwhile, the old market (Shanzai market), is also changing. It has actually become one of the driving forces for Chinese cloud computing industry.

Smart TV - the New Market

David Wei, VP and GM of Mobile Internet Lab & Digital Life Lab of Lenovo, gave his definition of Smart TV in the TechNode Collide conference: It is a connected TV with OS, and the content includes broadcasting, packaged media, web content, and applications. He believes that eventually people will be able to use Smart TV to watch TV or internet video, shop online, play games, read news, use social chat etc.
Smart TV, like Smart Phone, is not only driven by hardware manufacturers but by service providers, i.e. internet service providers and content providers (traditional video content and internet video content). In China, several companies including Skyworth, Hisense, TCL and Lenovo have released their first Smart TV products this year and the market, which will impact in 2012. "by 2015, there will be 32.4 million Smart TV's, beating traditional TV with 54% market share." said David Wei.
TCL has just released its first Window 7 based Smart TV early this May, developing a partnership with Youku, PPS etc. Liu Yunfei, Director at the TCL Research Supper Smart TV Center, also believes that the Smart TV market has to evolve and work closely with the popular internet service providers and thousands of applications development companies.

Smart TV sounds fancy but it is not an easy business. Although Smart TV is internet connected, Kevin Rui, VP of Business Alliance at BesTV, (the IPTV operator from Shanghai Media Group SMG) pointed out the TV audience are either kids or older people, and both groups are actually not heavy internet users. So educating them to use the internet service on TV is not an easy job; he said the applications on Smart TV are important but the app developers must note that TV is graphic-focused, so we can not expect any smart phone apps is playable on TV. Kevin also believe the driving force of Smart TV market will be IT companies instead of TV manufacturers. "Apple and Google are now leading the Smart Phone market, not Nokia or other traditional phone makers." He said in his speech. "Smart Phone is for the individual, but Smart TV is for the Family."

Shanzai and Cloud Computing

From a technological point of view, we are more ready for cloud computing than ever. The question is, why is China so excited about cloud computing? The answer given by Prof. Ni Guang Nan from China Academy of Engineering is a bit surprising, but indeed makes sense: cloud computing is driving China from the era of "Made-in-China" to "Created-in-China".

"In the traditional PC industry, China has no chance." Ni said, "till now, we still don't have the core technology of the WinTel architecture, and what we've been working on in the past is simply assembling all components."

Cloud computing presents China with a huge opportunity. "In the cloud computing industry, we need the mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and other ‘connected' device such as Smart TV. China has the full capability of creating/designing in this industry. In fact, China is already the biggest Internet, mobile phone and cable TV market. In the era of the PC, we have to follow WinTel and make sure everything we make is compatible with it as we don't have its core technology. But now we don't need to worry, we can work on open Linux for mobile OS, and Android is a good example. Companies like Huawei, Lenovo and many others are now the world-class manufacturers. We are ready for "Created-in-China."

The Shanzai industry also plays an important role in Chinese cloud computing industry, Ni believes. "Shanzai is not something we should copy" Ni said. "We should see it as an example of Disruptive Innovation, as long as we don't infringe on any intellectual property rights." For example, G'Five, a Shanzai brand has sold 38.6 millions phones to the overseas market (mainly in India where its market share is now No.3 reaching 7.3%); another example is The SuperPad (created in China). It is much cheaper compared to the iPad, and comes with more features (such as USB and 2 micro SD card slots; Malata Z-Pad has Mini USB, MircoSD, USB 2.0 and HDMI interface). With such innovative products, China is in good position to make the most out of mobile/cloud computing.

By Dr. Gang LU, Founder & Chief-Editor of TechNode.com. Gang is a well-known internet business observer and adviser in Asia/China, and co-founder of OpenWeb.Asia Workgroup and kuukie.com.