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Asia's cloud computing hub: Hong Kong's GovCloud initiative goes live

Hong Kong has launched the Government Cloud Platform, joining a growing list of countries, including the UK and US, that have dedicated cloud computing initiatives.

Unlike the British and American schemes, however, the Hong Kong cloud initiative, which has been dubbed GovCloud, is solely for government use.

"GovCloud is the government's first major private cloud computing initiative and is important central information technology infrastructure with full cloud computing functions," said a spokesman for the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO).

"With robust and fully resilient infrastructure, GovCloud provides a stable and reliable environment for bureaux and departments to develop and host their e-government services."

According to OGCIO, there's a lot of capital floating around this venture. A total of HK $242m (£19 million) has been set aside to implement GovCloud in the next five years, with the scheme officially launching on 27 December.

Already one of the world's foremost financial centres, Hong Kong has also become an Asian hub for cloud services in the past few years, with major companies from around the world basing their data centres on the Chinese semi-autonomous territory.

This is partly due to the large and experienced IT sector in Hong Kong, but can also be put down to the particular expertise of the city's IT professionals.

A 2012 survey by the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA) showed that nine out of ten IT professionals in Hong Kong claimed to have a strong knowledge of virtualisation.

This will certainly be a competitive advantage as the new era of IT puts loud at the forefront of most professionals' workloads.

Here in the UK, government cloud initiatives have also been taking up a large amount of column inches. The fourth iteration of the UK G-Cloud was released in December 2013, and applicants are due to start filling up spaces in October.

A G-Cloud blogpost from October revealed that the G-Cloud Store had processed over £50 million in sales in a single month, generated by over 13,000 services from 1,183 suppliers.

Image: Flickr (karmafier; Chi King)