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April 12, 2017

Cloud Wars: Huawei enters the fray, sets sights on AWS

Huawei set to create a new public cloud unit funded with $1bn to challenge market leaders.

By James Nunns

The public cloud market is an increasingly crowded space with more competing vendors than you can shake a large stick at. Now it seems that Huawei feels like it can compete with the leading players.

Although some, like VMware, Rackspace and HPE have taken the decision to move out of the public cloud arena and away from trying to compete directly with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, others like Oracle and now Huawei still feel like they can carve out a chunk of the market for themselves.

The Chinese telecoms equipment and smartphone maker said earlier this week that it’s previous focus on the private cloud is now shifting to the public cloud.

According to analysts from Mobile World Live attending Huawei’s analyst conference, the company is going to create a new cloud business unit and will invest $1bn into it.

The move will end up creating the company’s fourth business unit, fitting in alongside carrier, consumer and enterprise.

Zheng Yelai, president of the new unit, said: “We used to focus on private cloud and did well… now the purpose is to strengthen our public cloud offering.”

Although globally Huawei would end up having to compete with the likes of AWS, Microsoft, Google and more, the domestic market in China is far from a green field site with Alibaba already holding a significant market share in the country.

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Eric Xu, deputy chairman of Huawei’s board and one of three rotating chief executive officers, believes that Huawei might just have a trick up its sleeve that will help it to compete against Alibaba, which also happens to be a client of Huawei’s IT infrastructure and services.

Zheng Yelai, President, Cloud BU and IT Product Line, Huawei, delivering a speech during HAS 2017

Referring to Huawei’s global network of telecoms clients, Xu said: “I believe we can build upon our advantages accumulated over the years.

“Compete and coexist with AWS and Microsoft, I believe that is the trend we are going to see,” reported Fortune.

This kind of language is far from unique, with barely a day going by without some company taking aim at AWS & Azure, typically Oracle, so fighting talk does have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

However, Huawei thinks that it can carve out a space in the market by focusing on the cloud transformation efforts of its telecom partners. Xu said: “Our strategic focus will be on our telecom partners’ cloud transformation.”

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