China’s Huawei is set to become the first cloud service provider with a data center on the African continent, when it launches in March the first of two centers planned for South Africa.
The Johannesburg center will be followed by one in Cape Town, according to a company statement. Huawei’s Farouk Osman Latib described the company’s vision for “a fully connected Africa driven by data and artificial intelligence” during a cloud-industry summit in South Africa.
“If Cloud 1.0 is an era driven by infrastructure resources, then Cloud 2.0 is the era of cloud-native applications, driven by data and AI platforms,” Latib said. “If we compare an enterprise to an aircraft, techs like AI, (Internet of Things) and 5G can be regarded as engines, but Cloud is like a runway for the aircraft to take off towards digitization.”
Existing IT systems at medium-to-large sized companies are moving towards hybrid cloud architectures, creating demand for the infrastructure to support it. The growth also means opportunity for smaller firms to access big-data technologies in a range of industries.
Huawei’s new cloud service will be available to organizations in South Africa and neighboring countries, and will begin trial use next week.
The 30-year-old Huawei has grown into a multinational corporation with a sprawling footprint that first reached the African continent in Kenya in 1998. The company’s strategy was to build into developing countries, and Huawei now has a presence in at least 40 African nations.
Huawei also planned a warehouse in Johannesburg, its first such dedicated space on the continent, and is planning an electronics assembly plant for Angola while investing nearly $2 billion in that country’s telecom network.
Image: Huawei file