Taiwan launches cloud initiative

Government has an eye on exports

Taiwan's government is throwing its hat into the cloud computing ring. The island’s government recently announced plans to invest $744 million to develop cloud computing technology and services during the next five years.

IEEE Spectrum reported that Taiwan's government predicts the global cloud computing sector to be worth $31 billion by 2014. “We should take advantage of Taiwan’s strong information and communications technology industry, further upgrading it in order to seize business opportunities involving cloud computing technology,” Premier Den-yih Wu said in a press conference in April.

Government officials said developing cloud computing technology will help push integration between the hardware, software, and service industries to allow Taiwan to begin exporting cloud services.

The government’s five-year investment will be matched by $3.52 billion in private sector investments, including $397 million for research and development. The project is predicted to create and estimated 50,000 jobs.

To accelerate the effort, Wu has ordered the creation of a cabinet-level advisory task force to help government agencies select projects to fund and to find methods to remove barriers to investment in private sector cloud programs. According to IEEE Spectrum, the government funds will help with the supply, demand and governance of cloud computing services.

To meet supply requirements, funding will help integrate cloud computing systems, data centers, application software, new products, broadband networks, and testing applications. For the demand portion, the Taiwanese government is constructing its own cloud, combining the information systems in more than 4,000 agencies into two or three cloud computing centers.

The project follows investment by foreign firms. In November 2009, Microsoft inked an agreement with Taiwan to establish a joint cloud computing research center. Microsoft also signed a contract with Taiwan’s largest phone company, Chunghwa Telecom, that allows the carrier to deploy the Windows Azure operating system for its cloud computing applications.

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