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Huawei to boost Kunpeng ecosystem in cloud play

Chinese tech giant will shell out $200m this year to build an ecosystem around its Arm-based processor to bolster its position in the cloud computing market

Huawei is investing $200m this year to build an ecosystem around its Kunpeng Arm-based server processor as part of a broader strategy to stake a bigger claim on the cloud computing market.

The company said during its online Huawei Cloud developer today that the new investment will be used to fund programmes for universities, startups, developers and partners to build talent, access cloud resources and conduct research and development (R&D).

Huawei’s software partners, for example, can look forward to financial support totalling RMB600m (US$84.4m), including a one-off R&D subsidy of RMB300m ($42.4m) and cloud resources worth RMB300m.

The company already counts several well-known names in its developer ecosystem, including Tencent, which will tap Kunpeng processors to power its cloud-based mobile games.

“Developers are the key to changing the computing world – they are the engine of enterprise innovations, and the soul of new industry ecosystems,” said Hou Jinlong, president of Huawei’s cloud and artificial intelligence business group, in a keynote address.

“Currently, we have 1.6 million developers working on Huawei Cloud,” he said. “We will continue to work with global developers and industry partners to provide robust, economical computing power by leveraging the multi-core, high-concurrency advantages of Kunpeng processors.”

To give developers easy access to Kunpeng, Huawei has launched a lightweight, web-based integrated development environment (IDE) that streamlines development and runtime.

The IDE supports multiple programming languages, and is already being used by about 400,000 developers in more than 500,000 projects. It will provide access to all Kunpeng instances for free throughout 2020.

Huawei has also developed the Kunpeng acceleration library, which provides basic, compression, encryption and decryption, storage and multimedia functions, which are expected to boost application performance.

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First launched in early 2019, the Kunpeng processor was independently designed by Huawei based on the ARMv8 architecture. The Kunpeng 920, in particular, boasts 64 cores running at a frequency of 2.6GHz, significantly improving performance by optimising algorithms.

China’s cloud computing market – the biggest in the Asia-Pacific region – is currently dominated by Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, according to the latest research by Synergy Research Group.

“China remains a unique cloud market that is totally dominated by local companies,” said John Dinsdale, a chief analyst and research director at Synergy Research Group. “Beyond China, every major country market is led by Amazon and Microsoft.”

Dinsdale said that to become a leader, cloud suppliers will require “global presence, technology smarts, a brand name that plays well in all countries, extremely deep pockets, a long-term focus and total commitment from senior management”.

In February 2019, Huawei opened a new cloud region in Singapore to serve the needs of local firms and Chinese enterprises operating in the city-state, as part of its regional expansion plan.

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