Chinese tech giant Tencent plans to invest 500 billion yuan ($70 billion) in digital infrastructure over the next five years in response to a government call to energize the world’s second-largest economy with investment in “new infrastructure”.
“New infrastructure” is broadly defined as infrastructure that supports technology and science based projects.
The massive investment by Tencent will focus on areas ranging from cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) to 5G networks, quantum computing and supercomputer centers, according to a company statement published Tuesday.
Tencent did not provide further details about the investment plan, but underscored the progress it has made in boosting its cloud computing capabilities. The company has built a network of data centers housing more than 1 million servers, the statement said.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Tencent controlled 18% of China’s cloud infrastructure service market, far behind market leader Alibaba, which grabbed 46.4%. Alibaba has announced plans to spend $28 billion on its cloud infrastructure over the next three years in a bid to help businesses embrace digitalization.
Tencent will also deepen partnerships with scientific research experts, laboratories and top universities to cultivate talents, tackle scientific problems and formulate industry standards, the statement added.
Tencent’s announcement comes days after Chinese premier Li Keqiang highlighted the role of “new infrastructure” in China’s push to accelerate the tech-driven structural upgrade of its economy in his government work report delivered to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature.
Last month, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, divided “new infrastructure” into three areas: information-based infrastructure such as 5G and IoT; converged infrastructure supported by the application of the internet, big data and AI; and innovative infrastructure that supports scientific research, technology development and product development.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)