18 February 2019

China starts cherry picking winners in cloud computing push

The Politburo Standing Committee, the paramount decision-making body of the Communist Party of China, has a tradition of embarking on group learning sessions occasionally on key issues. For the latest such study held earlier this week, party chief Xi Jinping made a key departure as he opted for a location outside Zhongnanhai {中南海}, the compound where the top leaders normally hold court.

Xi on Monday led the other six standing committee members to Zhongguancun {中關村}, a well-known technology hub in Beijing that is often referred to China’s Silicon Valley. The main theme of the study, not surprisingly, was all about science and technology innovation in the country.

Interestingly, four renowned entrepreneurs in the information technology field were invited to give “lectures” for the ruling power elite. The experts were Liu Chuan-zhi {柳傳志}, founder and key shareholder of Lenovo Group (00992.HK); Robin Li {李彥宏}, co-founder and CEO of Baidu (BIDU.US); Lei Jun {雷軍}, founder and CEO of Xiaomi; and Sun Pishu {孫丕恕}, boss of Inspur Group.

Given the fact that all public activities of Chinese leaders are orchestrated carefully, the arrangement was by no means a random decision. Looking at the background of the tycoons, one should get some clues as to the orientation and focus of China’s science and technology policy in the years to come.

Inspur is not only a leading server supplier in the country but also one of the few supercomputer makers around the world. Lenovo has cornered a lion’s share in the personal computer market while Xiaomi is a rising star among domestic mobile handset brands. Baidu, as everyone knows, is China’s largest internet search engine.

According to Sina Technology news portal, Robin Li talked to Xi about the importance of big data to the nation’s economic and social development going forward. Big data is the collection of both unstructured data and structured data through cyberspace for instant discovery and analysis. It is an inherent feature of the recently emerging cloud computing in the universe of information technology.

From this perspective, we can figure out what is on the mind of the Chinese leaders — cloud computing. If one were to group all the tycoons’ companies together, it will be a complete industry chain. As Xi pledged to throw the government’s support behind domestic high-tech firms, the four firms should be among the first to tap into favorable policies.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]



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