Although Forrester expects China’s public cloud market to show solid growth through 2020, we have observed that organizations face barriers to adopting public cloud. Survey results indicate that data privacy, residency, loss of control, and security remain the top barriers for organizations adopting public cloud in China. This shows that Chinese customers are getting more knowledgeable about cloud and would like to understand cloud players’ offerings in more detail.


To ease concerns about public cloud usage, in mid-2013 the Chinese government and some leading cloud and data center service providers in China initiated an industry standard to evaluate cloud service offerings. After six months of discussion, they agreed upon version 1.0 of the industry standard, which includes three categories and 16 detailed SLAs:

Source: CNII

The first 10 qualified cloud service providers were announced on January 17, 2014:

Source: C114

What does this mean for end user organizations?

  • Public cloud SLAs are guaranteed by government policy and protected by law. The lack of industry standards and compliance requirements led end user organizations to doubt whether they should use public cloud. Now, certified public cloud services should ease clients’ concerns about security, data privacy, and high system availability. Eventually, Chinese end users will be able to use public cloud as confidently as they put money in the bank.
  • End users have more flexibility to select local or multinational cloud providers in China. Not only local public cloud providers, but also global brands like Windows Azure benefit from this announcement. Windows Azure’s services in China are operated by 21ViaNet, who is on the list for cloud server and storage services.
  • It’s real progress toward replacing on-premises infrastructure with public cloud server and storage in China.  IT departments can truly benefit from public cloud services; they’ll be released from the heavy workloads of hardware maintenance. CIOs and technology decision-makers can focus more on technology management and innovation to support the business.

If you have any thoughts on the changes in the public cloud services market in China, please share them in the comments.