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Data center clusters to boost digital landscape

China aims to build environmentally friendly data centers, including those in clusters, across the country that will feature advanced technology and computing power compatible with the growth of its digital economy by the end of 2023, according to a three-year plan unveiled by the nation's top industry regulator on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said efforts will be made to accelerate the construction of data center clusters in regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta region, so as to deploy large-scale computing power to meet the needs of major regional development strategies.

The plan also called for more actions to improve the service quality and the utilization efficiency of computing power in provinces such as Guizhou and Gansu, as well as in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The MIIT said these facilities would also support the transformation of other sectors, including those involved in raw materials, consumer products and digital information.

The move is aimed at ensuring data centers are distributed in an orderly way to balance supply and demand, experts said.

This will be in harmony with China's quest for high-speed, mobile, ubiquitous and safe information infrastructure.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, said a nationwide network of big data centers will constitute a sound telecom infrastructure for companies to better accelerate digital transformation and promote the integration of the digital economy and the real economy.

This approach can encourage companies to migrate their data to cloud platforms and make better use of their data assets to ensure data security, Xiang said.

Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, said earlier that "big data centers, as the key infrastructure in the digital economy era, are playing an important role in supporting cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, big data and the internet of things."

As early as in 2018, the company partnered with China Telecom, the State Development and Investment Corp and GDS Holdings Ltd, a private data service provider, to build the next-generation internet data center.

The partnership includes building big data centers and providing global users with basic big data-related services, including co-location, bandwidth renting, server renting and virtual hosting, as well as some value-added services like data backup.

Chinese tech companies are quickening their efforts to deploy internet data centers globally, tapping the ever-growing business needs of both international companies and Chinese enterprises marching overseas.

For instance, Tencent Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Tencent Holdings, said in early June that it has launched many internet data centers, with their services available in 27 regions and 66 availability zones worldwide.

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