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Seagate eyes opportunities in east-data-west-computing

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-27 09:37

Seagate's booth is seen during a trade fair in Shanghai. The US-listed data storage company is the only international hard disk maker with a production base in China. JIN RONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The US-listed data storage company Seagate Technology sees big opportunities from China's east-data-west-computing project, and it is committed to providing affordable green solutions to help local telecom operators and internet companies better store data.

The east-data-west-computing project refers to sending data gathered from the more prosperous eastern regions of China to the less developed but resource-rich western regions for storage, calculation and feedback, as well as establishing more data centers in western China, which can help the country improve its imbalance in the layout of digital infrastructure and maximize the value of data as a production element, experts said.

Sandy Sun, senior vice-president and general manager for China at Seagate Technology, said the east-data-west-computing project, officially unveiled in March this year, will be a driving force for the development of the data economy.

"We've already felt the vitality. Ever since the project was announced, we have seen clear investment strategies from our clients. Telecom operators, for instance, are growing very fast, already among the top five of our clients, as they spend big on storage products and solutions for data centers," Sun said.

China's investment in big data centers is expected to grow by more than 20 percent annually during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), and the cumulative investment in related fields is set to exceed 3 trillion yuan ($444 billion), according to a forecast by the National Development and Reform Commission.

Sun Wei, deputy director of the Department of Innovation and High-Tech Development at the NDRC, said, "The development of big data centers will drive investment in upstream and downstream industries such as the research, development and manufacturing of information technologies (and related products), telecom networks and energy."

Sun from Seagate said, "In the future, data centers will have bigger storage capacity, stronger capabilities in processing data, and become increasingly green."

She said China attaches high importance to sustainable development and one of Seagate Technology's technologies related to hard disks can help save 30 percent of the electricity for data centers.

Seagate Technology is the only international hard disk maker that has a production base in China. Despite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, its factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, managed to record a 3 percent year-on-year increase in output to 8.3 billion yuan in the first half.

The hard disks produced by the Wuxi factory, which has about 6,000 employees, not only meet demand of the Chinese market but serve as much as 70 percent of Seagate Technology's global customers at its peak.

"The Wuxi factory features intelligent manufacturing with automated production. It can assemble a hard drive in an average of 4 seconds. With big data as the core driving force, the plant also conducts digital management of production and manufacturing," Sun said.

To better meet the specific demands of Chinese customers, Seagate has tailor-made products for different sectors such as smart city and security. It has also partnered with Chinese customers to establish joint laboratories in areas such as cloud computing and data recovery, to quickly respond to their needs.

"We have close relationships with Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud and Chinese server maker Inspur. They are leading the world in adopting the latest generation of storage products," Sun said.

Data generated by China are expected to account for 27.8 percent of global data by 2025, according to a forecast by market research company International Data Corp.

To better pounce on the opportunities, Sun said Seagate Technology invests more than $1 billion into research and development every year.

"Seagate will further expand its layout with the development of China's digital economy. We will focus on the development of new infrastructure and the east-data-west-computing project to lay a solid data infrastructure for it," Sun said.

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