Epidemic outbreak boosted China’s cloud computing, million servers stacking to meet demand
China Knowledge Online
Feb 23, 2020

Feb 20, 2020 (China Knowledge) - Extracts from “China Computer Weekly” – published on Feb 18. Online demand generated by epidemic has greatly boosted the cloud computing industry, with upstream server shipments increasing and downstream enterprises reaching unprecedented level of usage.

Almost like a science-fiction movie, imagine a scene where more than 1.3 billion people are ‘locked’ in their residence; and, as though life goes on as usual. We know that is happening now in the most populated nation that is battling mankind’s new enemy – a novel coronavirus that is contagious and spreadable through human contact.

The compulsory homestay quarantine instructed by the Chinese government is to ensure minimum human interaction so to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19. It is almost like a country invaded by out-of-space aliens. Its citizens follow instructions obediently; or, at least no massive protests from social media. In this critical moment, Chinese people cooperate very well with the strict rules on homestay quarantine.

It is scene that even won the World Health Organization’s (WTO) praises for a large nation that is in such a cooperative and orderly manner to battle the virus spread. Its citizens are coping well, and some new phenomenon is creating great opportunities.

Like the effects of multiplier and divisor having such a large population suddenly switching to off-site working and learning (for students), it has prompted an exponential increase in online usage leading to an explosion in demand for underlying cloud computing facilities. At the same time, it also provides an excellent opportunity for online applications to improve customers’ experience and consolidate user habits, accelerating the growth of online application penetration. Think of 1.1 billion mobile users being ‘contained’ at home using the application and accessing the internet?

Since the imposition of homestay quarantine from late January, more than 18 mln enterprises in China have adopted online telecommuting mode to resume work in early Feb. More than 300 million users using telecommuting applications. WeChat Work background server request rose 10 times. As of Feb 11, users of office application KingSoft have risen 4 folds.

Cloud computing provides main computing support for the online office, and servers are core to cloud computing hardware support and source of computing power. Due to the influx of a large number of users in a short period, DingTalk urgently added 20,000. As of February 12, Alibaba’s DingTalk had added another 100,000 servers to cope with a hundred folds increase in traffic.

When an epidemic is gone the downstream applications brought by 5G commercialization will further spur cloud server output, the upstream supply chain has already steamed ahead.

Even setting aside the short-term demand caused by an epidemic, 2020 is expected to be the start of a new up-cycle of servers, as the 5G commercial and cloud computing industries themselves advance.

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