China has approved a project involving the construction of eight national computing hubs and plans to build 10 national-data center clusters, indicating that its strategy to channel more computing resources from the country's eastern regions to its less developed yet resource-rich western regions is in full swing.
The project, approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and three other central departments, marks the completion of the overall layout for the national integrated big-data center system. It will better empower the country's digital development.
Following the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, the west-to-east gas pipeline and the west-east power transmission program, this is another cross-regional project in China's pursuit of high-quality development through the optimization of resources and the boosting of sustainable development.
"Like with the South-to-North Water Diversion Project and the west-east power transmission program, we should give full play to the advantage of the country's system and mechanism to make integrated arrangements at the national level," NDRC official Sun Wei said during a recent interview with Xinhua.
The eight national computing hubs will be built in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, southwest China's Guizhou Province, northwest China's Gansu Province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The eight national computing hubs, as the backbone connection to China's computing network, will develop data-center clusters, carry out collaborative construction between data centers, cloud computing and big data, and bridge the gap between eastern and western regions in computing resources.
Noting that most of China's data centers are distributed in the eastern regions at present, Sun said that shortages of land and energy resources in these regions pose a threat to the sustained development of the data centers.
In contrast, China's western regions are rich in resources, especially renewable energy, and have the potential to nurture the development of data centers and meet the needs of data computing in the eastern regions, Sun said.
"The implementation of the project is conducive to promoting the green development and utilizing green energy in the western regions, and continuously optimizing the energy efficiency of data centers," Sun said.
In the next stage, China will focus on improving the influence of the eight national computing hubs to drive the integrated and coordinated development of data computing across the country.
Along with big-data sector growth, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has unveiled a plan for the industry during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). It forecasts that China's big-data industry will exceed 3 trillion yuan (about 474 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of around 25 percent.