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IBM Launches Cloud Computing Lab

Hong Kong center will focus on support for Big Blue's LotusLive online service.

IBM said Thursday that it opened a research lab in Hong Kong dedicated to developing products and services for the cloud computing market. At the outset, the lab will dedicate resources to supporting IBM's online LotusLive offering.

IBM currently counts more than 18 million users of LotusLive, which offers Web-based access to e-mail, instant messaging, calendaring, and other collaboration tools. The service starts at $3.00 per month, per user.

IBM said the Hong Kong center will research and develop best practices around various issues related to cloud computing, including security, privacy, and reliability. The lab is co-located with IBM's existing China Development Laboratory, which employs more than 5,000 developers.

"As the first cloud computing laboratory in Hong Kong to serve as a global resource for cloud-based collaboration services, the laboratory marks a milestone for IBM and for the information technology industry in Hong Kong," said Dominic Tong, IBM's general manager for Hong Kong/China, in a statement.

"The opening of the laboratory demonstrates Hong Kong's advantage as a global hub for world-class information technology and online services and we are delighted that it aligns with the government's agenda of developing Hong Kong into a center of excellence in innovation and technology," said Tong.

Attendees at an event marking the lab's opening included Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang, Commerce and Economic Development Secretary Duncan Warren Prescod, and IT Legislative Councilor Samson Tam.

IBM estimates the market for cloud, or hosted, computing products is growing 28% annually, and will increase from $47 billion in 2008 to $126 billion in 2012.

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