Fol­lower turns leader in server-re­lated in­no­va­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS - By MA SI masi@chi­

China will out­pace the world in mak­ing servers to power ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, cloud com­put­ing, and big data ap­pli­ca­tions as these cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies are widely seen as the next fron­tier of in­no­va­tion, ac­cord­ing to a renowned server ex­pert.

“Af­ter years of de­vel­op­ment, China has leapt from a fol­lower into one of the lead­ers of in­no­va­tion in server-re­lated tech­nolo­gies,” Wang En­dong, the chief sci­en­tist at In­spur Group, one of China’s largest server mak­ers, told re­porters on the side­lines of the 19th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China.

Servers are the “en­gines” to drive the flow of data in var­i­ous in­dus­tries. They run core busi­ness sys­tems of fi­nance, tele­com, elec­tric­ity, en­ergy trans­mis­sion and other in­dus­tries that are di­rectly re­lated to peo­ple’s liveli­hood.

Ac­cord­ing to Wang, three of the top five global server mak­ers are from China. The coun­try is also play­ing an im­por­tant part in set­ting world­wide in­dus­try stan­dards.

“We have out­paced many coun­tries in server patent ap­pli­ca­tions, which will of­fer a strong mo­men­tum to growth,” said Wang, who is also an aca­demi­cian of the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing.

For a long time, China heav­ily re­lied on im­ports to meet the do­mes­tic de­mand for high-end fault-tol­er­ant servers, which al­low sys­tems to con­tinue run­ning when part of the sys­tem fails, thereby avoid­ing loss of data. At the time, the mar­ket was dom­i­nated by IBM, HP, Fu­jitsu and other for- eign tech­nol­ogy providers.

The sit­u­a­tion per­sisted un­til 2013, when Wang and his more than 400 col­leagues suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped China’s first pro­pri­etary 32-way high-end fault-tol­er­ant server — the Tian­suo K1.

Wang com­pared the de­vel­op­ment of In­spur Tian­suo K1 with climb­ing the world’s sec­ond high­est peak, Mount K2.

“When we started to de­velop the high-end fault-tol­er­ant server, we named it K2 to re­mind ev­ery re­searcher of the ex­treme dif­fi­cul­ties we could en­counter,” Wang said, adding the name was changed to K1 only af­ter the team suc­ceeded.

Ear­lier this year, In­spur launched a tailor-made server plat­form for AI, which de­mands huge amounts of data com­put­ing and pro­cess­ing. This is the lat­est prod­uct of Wang and his team.

In the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, In­spur shipped 158,000 units of servers glob­ally, mak­ing it the world’s fourth largest server maker, data from the mar­ket re­search com­pany Gart­ner Inc show.

Fu Liang, an in­de­pen­dent IT ex­pert, said the tech­nol­ogy gap be­tween Chi­nese server mak­ers and their west­ern coun­ter­parts has been nar­rowed rapidly, with lo­cal play­ers even lead­ing the world in some re­spects.

We have out­paced many coun­tries in server patent ap­pli­ca­tions.”

clear­ing house has been in­creas­ing, but the com­pany did not dis­close any fig­ures for now.

China’s third-party on­line pay­ment mar­ket had 160 bil­lion trans­ac­tions val­ued at 100 tril­lion yuan ($15.15 tril­lion) last year, up 100 per­cent year-on-year, ac­cord­ing to data from the cen­tral bank.

The large amount of off­sheet on­line trans­ac­tions that were con­ducted last year had alarmed the gov­ern­ment, be­cause un­like trans­ac­tions backed by banks, un­trace­able trans­ac­tions through third­party pay­ment providers may in­clude po­ten­tial money laun­der­ing and other il­le­gal prac­tices.

An all-in plat­form will help

to curb risks by mak­ing the trans­ac­tion data trans­par­ent, ac­cord­ing to the sources.

At an op­por­tune time, the clear­ing house also plans to come out with stan­dards that would seek to unify the en­tire third-party pay­ment in­dus­try in China.

The com­pany will also ramp up its mar­ket pres­ence by pro­mot­ing its own quick re­sponse code scan­ning sys­tem to process mo­bile pay­ments.

The ob­jec­tive of the whole ex­er­cise is to en­sure that the mo­bile pay­ment in­dus­try progresses on the right track with ad­e­quate gov­ern­ment sup­port and con­trols, said an un­named of­fi­cial from the cen­tral bank.

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