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4 national computing hubs set to foster big data

Fan Feifei
Updated: Feb 17,2022 08:59    China Daily

China has approved plans to build four national integrated computing hubs as part of its ongoing efforts to increase the nation's computing capacity and speed up the construction of new infrastructure, the country's top economic regulator said on Feb 16.

Industry experts said the plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission and three other central departments is in line with the national strategy of promoting green, high-quality development of the digital economy and injecting new impetus into economic growth.

The hubs will be built in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta region, the Chengdu-Chongqing city cluster and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the NDRC said in four separate statements.

Under the plan, each hub will give full play to its advantages in market, technology, talent and capital, develop data center clusters with high energy efficiency and low carbon emissions, improve the quality of data supply, and realize the coordinated and sustainable development of large-scale computing power deployment with land, energy, water, electricity and other resources, the NDRC said.

With the blossoming of new-generation information technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and industrial internet, data have become a national basic resource and an important factor of production, said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association.

"The establishment of national integrated computing hubs will improve efficiency in the use of computing resources, boost the free flow of data and promote the high-quality development of the digital economy," said Xiang, adding most of these computing network hubs are located in the eastern coastal regions, which have greater demand for advanced computing power along with huge data usage.

Xiang noted the investment in establishing data center clusters is enormous. Chinese technology companies should utilize innovative technologies to improve data centers' operational efficiency and cut power consumption, he said.

After years of development, China has taken a lead in the world in the big data sector. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology unveiled a plan for the big data sector's development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), envisaging a scale topping 3 trillion yuan ($473.7 billion) by the end of 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of around 25 percent.

MIIT data showed China's big data sector grew rapidly over the past five years, with the scale exceeding 1 trillion yuan by 2020.

Zhou Minliang, a senior researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the construction of national integrated computing hubs will provide strong support for the growth of advanced manufacturing, boost technological innovation and enhance the country's core competitiveness.

Zhou said the renewable energy is abundant and climate and geological conditions are favorable in Chengdu and Chongqing, two of the largest metropolitan economies in Southwest China.

The nation seeks to tap the value of massive data resources more efficiently, Zhou said, adding these hubs are capital and technology-intensive, and need a large number of technical professionals. More efforts should be made to strengthen network transmission capacity among these national hubs, he said.

Data centers should increase computing efficiency, save computing energy consumption and truly meet the needs of future smart computing, said Wang Endong, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the principal scientist at Inspur Group, a Chinese provider of big data services.

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