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“Data in the West, the calculation in the east” : when China reorganizes its data centers

“Data in the West, the calculation in the east” : when China reorganizes its data centers

As the digital economy takes an increasingly important part in our societies, the infrastructures linked to the support of these become issues of development but also of economic sovereignty. Therefore, China has made the cloud industry a national priority : let's discover together one of the recent support plans for the industry.

L'informatique avancée au centre des rivalités

high performance computing (high performance computing – HPC) and more generally the cloud industry is, in China as elsewhere, an economic issue, technology and a question of sovereignty. The United States released the rapportPioneering the Future Advanced Computing Ecosystem” in november 2020, that sees cloud and HPC as national strategic assets to ensure U.S. leadership in science and engineering, economic competitiveness and national security. The European Union is no exception, with a plan joint action plan launched in 2018 and an investment of 8 billion euros announced in 2020. The last days, the Minister for the Armed Forces has officially inaugurated the new EXA1 supercomputer, whose power ranks among the top 10 world.

Global competition for computing power is fierce. In terms of computing power, United States, China, Europe and Japan represent respectively 36 %, 31 %, 11 % et 6 % of global computing power. But China is stepping up. During the period of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), China's overall computing power has experienced a growth quick. This growth is measured by the number of racks (of servers) data centers, the number of “general purpose” servers, the number of servers dedicated to AI and the number of supercomputers. Equipment performance has also improved. In 2020, China's computing power has reached 135 EFlops, representing approximately 31% from the world, maintaining a high growth rate of 55%, is around 16 percentage points above the global growth rate.

Beijing intends to continue to develop this vital industry for its technological effort, industrial and economic. The 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) foresees a strengthening of high performance computing capacities and the cloud industry. In 2020, the government's recovery plan in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic includes support for "new infrastructure", i.e. telecommunications equipment, but also data centers and high performance computing Finally, the government has now been working for a year and a half on the development of a major IT plan, led by the Commission for Development and Reforms (NDRC), the powerful constable of chinese cyberspace, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and the Department of Energy.

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