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Guizhou province ramps up computing construction to boost digital economy

By FAN FEIFEI in Beijing and YANG JUN in Guiyang | China Daily| Updated: 2022-10-27 Print

Southwest China's Guizhou province is taking steps to accelerate the construction of data centers, computing infrastructure and national computing hub, as part of its broader drive to improve efficiency in the use of computing resources and inject fresh impetus into the country's digital economy.

According to the Big Data Development Administration of Guizhou province, the province will take a moderately proactive approach in building computing infrastructure, improve the utilization efficiency of computing power and establish safe, intelligent and green computing networks in a bid to meet the country's surging demand for computing capacity.

More efforts should be made to establish national computing power scheduling systems, cultivate the data trading market, increase capital input and enrich the application scenarios of computing power, the administration said.

By 2025, the number of data center racks and servers is expected to reach 800,000 and 4 million, respectively, in Guizhou. Data center racks consist of a physical frame made of steel and other alloys to house electronic servers, cables, networking devices, cooling systems and other computing equipment.

In February, China launched a megaproject involving the construction of eight national computing hubs and 10 national data center clusters, indicating that its work to channel more computing resources from the country's eastern regions to its lesser developed yet resource-rich western regions is in full swing.

Guizhou is among eight national computing hubs, with Gui'an New Area in the provincial capital Guiyang, included in the 10 national data centers.

The province has become the frontrunner in China's big data industry since it was approved to build the country's first comprehensive big data pilot area in 2016. It has strived to boost the digital transformation of industries, industrialization of digital technologies and in-depth integration of big data with the real economy, with the growth rate of its digital economy ranking first across the country for seven consecutive years.

Tech companies from home and abroad, such as Apple Inc, Huawei Technologies Co, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, have established their cloud computing and big data centers as well as regional headquarters in the province due to its cooler climate and ample power resources.

"The implementation of the east-data-west-computing project will bring about new opportunities for Guizhou, drive the development of IT equipment manufacturing, information and telecommunications, basic software, data processing, artificial intelligence and green energy industries, and give a boost to research and development investment in the field of digital economy," said Huang Zhiyong, general manager of China Telecom's Guizhou branch.

Huang said the company will participate in the country's megaproject for computing power hubs and data center clusters, increase investments to quicken the construction of superlarge data centers at its industrial park in Gui'an New Area and further enhance computing capacities.

Yu Junfang, deputy general manager of China Unicom's Guizhou branch, said the company will invest 1.5 billion yuan ($206.6 million) to expand the number of data center racks from 3,000 to 10,000 this year.

The scale of China's total computing power now ranks second in the world, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. By the end of June, the number of data center racks in use topped 5.9 million, and the number of servers reached nearly 20 million in the country.

"With the rapid development and the commercial application of 5G, the internet of things, AI and the industrial internet, demand for data processing is increasing, which has driven the construction of data centers," said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association.

Chinese high-tech companies should utilize innovative technologies to improve data centers' operational efficiency and cut power and energy consumption, Xiang said.

"Most of China's computing infrastructure is distributed in the eastern regions at present, while the western regions have the potential to foster the development of data centers and meet the needs of data computing in eastern regions," said Yu Xiaohui, head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

Yu said the implementation of the east-data-west-computing project is conducive to optimizing the allocation of national computing power, utilizing green energy in the western regions and improving the energy efficiency of data centers.

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