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Huawei Cloud opens Singapore region amid growing cloud rivalry

The Chinese tech giant is eyeing local and Chinese firms looking to expand operations in the Asia-Pacific region

Huawei has become the latest tech supplier to muscle its way into Singapore’s cloud computing market with a new datacentre region to serve the needs of local firms and Chinese enterprises operating in the city-state.

It is offering a full-stack cloud platform, comprising compute, storage and networking services, with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities “scheduled to be built in the Singapore region”, according to Huawei.

Huawei’s choice of Singapore – which ranked sixth globally in the 2018 Global Cloud Computing Scorecard – as its next location in its regional cloud expansion plan is strategic in a number of ways.

As a leading financial hub, Singapore is a key services and shipping centre, serving as a springboard for enterprises looking to spread their wings in the Asia-Pacific region. It is also a strategic hub for Chinese enterprises expanding outside China.

Apart from offering low-latency cloud services powered by Huawei’s hardware equipment, the company’s edge over rivals could well be the high-speed networks it has built with carriers across the region, with Singapore typically serving as a major network hub.

Huawei is not only going after enterprises with its cloud service. Noting that many governments in the Asia-Pacific region have announced their digital transformation initiatives, it said it also wants to help local governments implement those initiatives through cloud computing and AI.

“In addition, Huawei Cloud will launch a skills training and recruitment plan for the Asia-Pacific region, providing more employment opportunities and professional training programmes for talent,” said Jeffery Liu, president of Huawei South Pacific region.

Read more about cloud computing in APAC

In Southeast Asia, Huawei Cloud runs another datacentre region in Bangkok, Thailand. By the end of 2018, it touted 40 availability zones in 23 geographic regions.

The Singapore public cloud infrastructure market, like most markets around the world apart from China, is being dominated by global cloud bigwigs such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google.

But that has not stopped Chinese cloud giant Alibaba Cloud from making its presence felt in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia.

In 2015, Alibaba Cloud established its regional headquarters in Singapore – years behind AWS – but it has since picked up notable customers in the region, including Malaysia’s AirAsia and hospitality group Genting.

It also has two datacentres in Indonesia, a market with "great potential" thanks to the growing use of mobile payments and e-commerce services, according to Leon Chen, country manager for Indonesia and Singapore at Alibaba Cloud.

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