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@Microsoft has announced it’s to triple the capacity of its #Azure #cloud network in China after observing “rapid momentum” in the service’s growth. Azure launched in China three years ago and now has over 80,000 enterprise customers. Cloud technology is booming as more companies look to create APIs, exploit data and digitally transform their business. At an event in Beijing this week, Microsoft CEO @SatyaNadella said the decision to dramatically expand Azure’s China operations will present a “great opportunity” to companies in the region. China has strict regulations around the Internet and its cloud services. To ensure regional compliance, Azure China is operated by local datacentre provider 21Vianet. The “cooperative” partnership between Microsoft and 21Vianet has allowed Azure to be the first international public cloud available inside China. Microsoft’s now negotiated a new arrangement with 21Vianet that will see Azure’s regional capacity triple over the next six months. This will give Chinese enterprises, developers and consumers more cloud resources, allowing them to increase their operating scale and efficiency. Microsoft said over 1,000 cloud partners and 80,000 enterprise clients are already registered on Azure in China. Some of them are major multinational brands, such as Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi, but many others are local services and companies that operate inside China. Microsoft said the capacity expansion will benefit both types of user by increasing the availability of cloud services. READ NEXT: 90% of enterprises to use cloud services by 2021 “Today’s announcement will further benefit these companies by providing increased flexibility and expanding access to cutting-edge Azure cloud services,” said Microsoft. “Increased capacity will also make it easier for multinational companies to meet the needs of customers in China using the scale, power, and secure infrastructure of the Azure cloud.” The expansion will also extend Microsoft’s lead in operating cloud services in China. Although the market is still led by Chinese operators such as Alibaba and Tencent, Azure’s gaining a significant presence under 21Vianet’s operation. This helps further Microsoft’s ambitions of having the biggest cloud network in terms of distinct geographic regions served, improving data redundancy and network performance. Microsoft said its partnership with 21Vianet sets a “benchmark” for global cloud services intending to operate in China. Under rules set out by the Chinese government, foreign providers must partner with a licensed local operator before they’re allowed to sell services in the country. 21Vianet fulfils this requirement for Microsoft, enabling the Azure brand and network to enter the region

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