CenturyLink is taking its managed hosting portfolio into China, initially to serve its multinational business customers wanting to do business there, but ultimately looking for new customers in that region as well. (See CenturyLink Expands Managed Hosting into China.)
The US network operator's new presence within a data center in Shanghai is enabled by partnerships with companies already established in China, including IT services provider Neusoft and data center services provider GDS, which operates the data center in the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone in which CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) will have a presence. A third partner, Citic Telecom CPC, will be the network provider for CenturyLink, continuing a longtime partnership between the two companies.
CenturyLink is "front-ending all of that to enable our customers to go into market with confidence with our brand and have a similar global performance across all the data centers," says James Parker, senior VP, international sales at CenturyLink. That means providing its full portfolio of monitoring, security services, professional services and support for companies wanting to do business in China.
Having a physical presence inside mainland China will enable CenturyLink to offer multinational corporations faster access to their e-commerce sites, he says. As explained in this GigaOm article, having a presence inside China's firewall can mean an online response time of 3 seconds, compared to 40 seconds for sites hosted physically close to mainland China, but not inside the firewall
"There are significant performance issues related to having a presence there," Parker says. Given the growth of business in China, more companies are looking for that performance advantage -- CenturyLink is already doing business with two customers in China and has many more in its sales pipeline, he adds.
In announcing its new China footprint, CenturyLink cites a Gartner Inc. study that says IT spending in China will reach $375 billion in 2015.
The move is part of CenturyLink's broader expansion of its data center footprint and had been in the works for more than a year. Initially the company is building a sales office in China, Parker says, but that presence will increase over time to include Asia-based operations and support staff when CenturyLink begins to court Chinese-based companies for its hosted services offering. (See CenturyLink Cuts Cloud Prices, Touts Power.)
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading