Tencent to open Internet data centre in Bahrain

Tencent Cloud will capitalise on Bahrain’s position as a regional cloud services hub

  

MANAMA: Tencent, one of the most valuable companies in the world, has chosen Bahrain to deploy its first regional public cloud infrastructure.

A collaboration between the Chinese technology giant and the Economic Development Board (EDB), Bahrain’s main investment promotion agency, will see the maker of social media app WeChat’s brand-new Internet data centre (IDC) go live in the kingdom by the end of the year, it was announced yesterday.

The company and the EDB have also agreed to partner other stakeholders in driving the continued adoption of cloud services towards digital transformation in public and private sectors.

Additionally, support will be offered to partners to leverage cloud services in collaboration with local stakeholders such as Tamkeen.

Local talent development is also a key part of the agreement and Tencent Cloud will join the Bahrain government in setting up training initiatives at universities and educational institutions across the kingdom.

A report on Businessinsider.com last September valued Tencent, whose services include a social network, video streaming, e-commerce, mobile games, Internet services, payment systems, smartphones, and multiplayer online games, at around $69 billion.

Commending the EDB for its efforts in developing the partnership with Tencent, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed said: “This is an important milestone in Bahrain’s journey to become the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region’s cloud and data centre hub.”

Concurring with the minister, EDB chief executive Khalid Humaidan said: “We are confident that Tencent will be able to leverage the kingdom’s regional connectivity, local talent, and business friendly environment to expand their services and reach clients across the region.”

Tencent joins leading global cloud giants like Amazon Web Services (AWS) in choosing Bahrain which is expected to drive massive growth in data traffic towards the region.

“Moreover, the launch of the new data centre stands to create a clustering effect as other global providers turn their attention to the increasingly attractive region, with Bahrain positioned as the destination of choice with proactive initiatives such as the government’s ‘Cloud-First’ policy and nationwide 5G,” added Mr Ahmed.

Operating in 27 regions and 60 availability zones worldwide, Tencent Cloud integrates Tencent’s infrastructure-building capabilities with the advantages of its massive user platform and ecosystem.

Appreciating the Bahrain government for its efforts to grow the local industry, Tencent Cloud international senior vice-president Poshu Yeung said, “We will launch all necessary steps to set up a brand-new IDC in Bahrain to provide better coverage all over the region along the ‘Belt and Road’, fully supporting the ‘Cloud-First’ strategy.”

In 2017, Bahrain introduced the region’s first nationwide ‘Cloud-First’ policy driving the adoption of cloud across state entities and reducing IT costs by up to 90pc.

Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat was one of the first in the country to achieve full cloud migration and its managing director for investments Raed Fakhri said the fund was keen to “explore and support innovative technologies, including the cloud and other content driven services”.

Besides fully owning US game studio Riot Game, Tencent owns a minority stake in American video game developer Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, a worldwide phenomenon with 350 million players as of last year.

In November 2019, Epic used the AWS cloud to launch a Bahrain-based server for Fortnite players in the region, resulting in faster graphics and improved competitive advantage.

avinash@gdn.com.bh

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