Fujitsu Ltd., a Tokyo-based information technology equipment maker and service provider, aims to meet the rising demand for cloud computing and data storage services of foreign financial institutions in southern China through its Guangdong-based data center.
The data center, which opened in April 2012 in the financial district of Nanhai in Foshan city, will boost cross-border trade between Hong Kong and the mainland, Derek Yiu, general manager of solutions and services business at Fujitsu Hong Kong Ltd., told EJ Insight.
“Foreign financial companies are required to have data center facilities as Chinese authorities stipulate that these companies have to store their data in mainland China. So they have to find data center facilities to cater to this as it will be too costly to have their own data centers,” Yiu said in an interview.
The Nanhai center now has more than 10 clients from the financial, manufacturing and retail sectors, including a foreign bank. With a building area of more than 12,000 square meters, the center can host 1,000 plus servers.
Fujitsu also has a data center in Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. The two centers are interconnected and can both support clients’ business operations.
“Some enterprises cannot cease certain operations like banking transactions. If there is a back-up facility, all trading can continue even if a problem arises,” Yiu said.
As part of a process known as disaster recovery, the data center in Hong Kong can support the operation on the mainland even if the servers there break down due to circumstances like overloading and natural disasters, he said.
Through the Nanhai data center, which is a joint venture with the local government, Fujitsu has also cooperated with a local hospital to digitalize, store and analyze patients’ data. The company has assured that authorities cannot access the data stored in their servers.
Fujitsu stands on its reputation as the world’s third largest IT service provider. With more than 100 data centers worldwide, the company has annual revenue of about US$54 billion.
In China, Fujitsu is one of the very few IT companies that have a presence in both Hong Kong and the mainland. Being a one-stop shop for hardware facilities, software applications and supporting services, the company has a unique edge in providing services for cross-border business.
“We will support Hong Kong and foreign firms that want to have a footprint in China, and China-based enterprises wishing to set up a branch office in Hong Kong,” Yiu said.
“Many Hong Kong retail chains are starting to develop their business in mainland China. Thus, they will need a data center that can support them cross the border, and this is where our value is.”
One of Fujitsu’s clients, for example, is a Hong Kong telecommunication giant that runs a carrier business on the mainland. The company’s data center enables the telco to maintain its coverage in China, he said.
Yiu said the company is confident of maximizing its occupancy rate within one to two years and double its revenue in three years. The short-term focus will be on business development, industry collaboration and professional accreditation of the data center in south China.
Asked whether the company plans to establish a data center in the Shanghai free trade zone, Yiu said it must first consider the challenges and opportunities of operating in a bigger environment before making a decision.
Fujitsu’s data center focuses on providing private and hybrid cloud solutions to enterprises, which need a secure and reliable data network to store, retrieve and analyze information to run their business.
The rise of internet-based businesses on the mainland further brightens the outlook of the cloud computing and hosting industry.
“We can see that Alibaba Group’s e-commerce business is doing very well, which means that Chinese consumers are becoming more mature and embracing e-commerce concepts,” Yiu said. “Some companies also want to go into the online financial transaction business”, which is another growth area that will need data hosting services.
Companies are increasingly realizing the importance of having a cloud-based platform to operate and expand their businesses, and their main concern will be the reliability and security of these platforms, he added.
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