The size of China’s public cloud market will grow rapidly in the next five years, more than doubling to $3.8 billion in 2020 from $1.8 billion this year, says a new report from Forrester.
According to the research firm’s criteria, which evaluated each service’s technology, business strategy, and market size by customer base and revenue, the leading three providers in the country are currently Alibaba (which recently made a $1 billion investment in Aliyun, its cloud unit), Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft.
Tencent is also a potential contender, but other homegrown cloud providers (including ChinaC, DaoCloud, JD.com, MoPaaS, QingCloud, UCloud, and UnitedStack) currently trail far behind the market leaders, according to Forrester analysts Charlie Dai and Frank Liu.
Aliyun has managed to build the largest ecosystem by partnering with technology, SaaS, and consulting companies, which is not surprising considering Alibaba’s clout in China.
On the other hand, Forrester says AWS and Microsoft Azure (both of which launched in China last year) still have “the strongest product strategy due to their focus on the user experience and blending of infrastructure and platform-based services.”
Two-thirds of the 299 Chinese software companies surveyed by Forrester says increasing their use of public cloud platforms is a major priority over the next year. Factors driving the adoption of public cloud services in China include more smartphone users, which means developers have to handle heavier traffic on apps, and the fact that using offsite servers is an affordable option for SMBs that have slim profit margins.
Furthermore, governments in several major cities and regions—including Shanghai, which helped launch Microsoft Azure in China, Beijing, Ningxia, and Dalian—have recognized the importance of cloud computing to help public services run efficiently.