Huawei Cloud services coming to Africa in early 2019

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Huawei Cloud services will be available in SA early next year.
Huawei Cloud services will be available in SA early next year.

Huawei Cloud services will officially become available in South Africa by the beginning of next year and will be scaled up based on the demand.

This is according to Deng Tao, VP of the Huawei Cloud Business Unit, speaking to journalists at a roundtable on the side-lines of AfricaCom 2018 in Cape Town.

Last week, Huawei announced it would open its first public cloud data centre in Africa, in Johannesburg. Today at AfricaCom the group had its official Huawei Cloud South Africa opening ceremony and Deng told journalists the company has plans to later expand to other regions of SA and then to more countries in Africa. He mentioned Nigeria and Kenya being next on the list.

"We believe African companies need cloud services. Right now, the number of enterprises adopting cloud is still very small, but there is a big potential to grow. We are very confident this could be a big growth area for the business.

"South Africa will be our main investment area at first and our base for expansion," he said, adding that if the demand was there, Huawei would expand its capacity and services further locally.

He said the group is making a "long-term investment" in terms of cloud on the continent but would not disclose how much the group will spend on setting up the data centre in Johannesburg. He did, however, confirm local jobs would be created through the project, saying "in South Africa we will hire local talent to work on Huawei Cloud".

Huawei's cloud business is still relatively new. It was established in March 2017 and since then the group has unveiled more than 120 cloud services in 18 major categories. These cover over 60 general solutions, including SAP, high-performance computing, Internet of things, security and DevOps.

This year, Huawei Cloud has already launched data centres in Hong Kong, Russia and Thailand. By the end of September, outside of the Chinese market, the unit had provided services in Asia Pacific and partner public cloud services in Europe and Latin America. The group says Huawei Cloud and Huawei partner public cloud are available in 14 countries and regions, and will be available in most of the major regions around the world by the end of this year.

South African ICT and cloud services vendors are already anticipating greater interest in the public cloud with the imminent arrival of a number of local data centres from international groups.

Microsoft recently announced the landing of two Azure data centres in SA "before the end of the year". Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services last month announced it will bring its data centres to SA, opening an infrastructure region in Cape Town in the first half of 2020.

When asked whether the group is worried about competition in the local cloud market with the looming arrival of data centres from competitors, Deng was coy.

"Our eye is focused on customers and we are not focused on competitors. We did a market analysis and found that our customers and partners need cloud so that is why we are coming here," he concluded.

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