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China’s East-to-West Digital Transformation in Motion

China has been pulling out all the stops to make its digital transformation happen. However, so far the most developed part of the nation is the Eastern portion leaving the landlocked West behind in terms of technological development. To remedy this and make the most of the natural resources on the line, Beijing has called for technology to push westward.

As large as the country is, China’s Western move is logical. Specifically, the east-data-west-computing project refers to sending data gathered from the more prosperous eastern regions of China to the less developed but resource-rich western regions for storage, calculation and feedback.

In response to the nation’s call for an east-data-west-computing project, Chinese telecom operators are quickly mobilising building more low-carbon, high-efficiency data centres and ramping up their computing power. A major initiative is to establish more data centres in Western China. This can help the country improve its imbalance in the layout of digital infrastructure and maximise the value of data as a production element, experts observed.

A major Chinese telecom operator said the company has more than 880 data centres, which hold over a million servers. More importantly, the layout of its data centres has become strategic in line with the East-West push. Indeed, it is roughly similar to that called for in the east-data-west-computing project.

Of note, its data centres are mainly distributed in regions such as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Guizhou province, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta region, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle

According to the telecoms company, it will accelerate the construction of new data centres that feature high computing power, high security and low carbon ratings. They will be designed to take full advantage of natural resources such as energy and climate in Western China, to improve service quality and utilisation efficiency of computing power.

The company’s chief scientist at its research institute said that an all-optical computing power network will provide high-quality connections with an ultra-low rate of delays, ultra-high reliability, ultra-large bandwidth, ultralong distance, flexible adjustment and green energy savings, which can quickly and efficiently transport data from eastern areas to western regions, as well as improve the cross-regional transfer of computing power.

The senior executive disclosed their expansion is in accordance with the east-data-west-computing project. To boot, the company has its data centre parks in Inner Mongolia and Guizhou as bases for national data storage backup and offline analysis. Plus, computing hubs in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle are positioned to support high-frequency, real-time services such as video streaming and e-commerce.

It’s the best of both worlds. The computing resource transfer project can solve problems facing China’s Eastern regions, such as an insufficient energy consumption quota, high electricity costs and limited space for the development of large-scale data centres, noted one independent telecom analyst.

China is indeed mapping its digital transformation meticulously. Just recently, it also broke ground with Deep Learning (DL) as the country’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) community is focused on pushing the envelope further. It’s also focused on giving its younger population the knowledge to help them learn the ins and out of ICT and become part of the country’s digital workforce as reported on OpenGov Asia.


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