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

Both the development of cloud computing and the mobile industry are on the rise. Dr Gang Lu, Chief Editor at TechNode, discusses what this means to China, and how Chinese companies are looking to provide people with new services.

Cloud computing is not a new concept or technology. It's been here for years but this cloud seemed far away, I mean, from the view of a majority of end-consumers. The reason is quite obvious, there were very few good (cloud) applications that people really needed every day. Thanks to the fast growing mobile Internet market, such as smart phones, 3g/4g networks etc. we have started feeling the changes.

In the TechNode Collide "Powering the China Cloud" conference, speakers from different backgrounds, ranging from phone manufactures, internet companies to TV manufacturers and TV media, shared their thought-provoking remarks and comments about the cloud computing market in China.

Mobile Internet business in cloud computing

The development of cloud computing is closely interrelated to the development of the mobile industry.

HTC has been considering how to turn cloud computing into something that consumers can benefit from. At HTC, cloud computing is also known as "HTCSense", which represents HTC's understanding and delivery of mobile cloud computing. Ray Yam, head of HTC China, thinks that in the past, mobile user experience highly relies on the hardware capacity of mobile phones and therefore constrains it; that's why HTC spent lots of effort on HTCSense.com, in the hope of breaking through the constrains and offering customers unlimited mobile user experience. HTCSense.com isn't just a website, it's also the mobile cloud computing platform and an extension of HTC smartphone. For example, customers can upload their text messages, contact details, and emails to HTCSense.com - this is the elementary application of cloud computing. Users can also upload their pictures - taken in all corners of the world - to HTC cloud storage servers and tag their memories in a map. HTC provides customers with unlimited storage space. On top of that, users can locate their stolen phone and remotely control (and even delete) secret information on the phone after uploading them into HTC cloud servers, in case of serious damage.

As we already have TV in the Cloud (Smart TV) and phones in the Cloud(smartphones), the "money in the cloud" is also on the way. Mobile payment will become more convenient as mobile internet evolves. Michael Zhao, Head of Integration Service at Paypal China, agrees that Chinese internet users are willing to pay, as long as the service is good. For example, statistics by Angry Birds shows that more and more Chinese gamers are buying Angry Birds for updates and new features. And in the future, more and more new features and creative ideas will be based on sensors of mobile.

A number of traditionally big internet companies have spent lots of effort on cloud computing, including Tencent, which typically builds its web-based QQ, rumored to be a cloud operating system. Shanda, whose innovation institute has delivered several projects such as voice recognition, cloud storage and sync service etc. Cloud computing might soon be seen the same way as we see internet today.

Also, smartphones now contribute to 60% of mobile market. It's highly likely that smartphones consists of the majority of Chinese phone market, which is a boost to social applications, giving user the capability of always online. On the other hand, there is a huge opportunity to mobile app developers, who now can take advantage of the cloud computing concept and build more handy services for people's daily life.

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.