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IBM Opens Cloud Computing Centers In China, South Africa

The centers will be used to deliver applications and other IT services to customers over the Internet.
IBM said Tuesday that it has opened two new data centers from which it plans to deliver cloud computing services to its business customers in emerging markets.

One center is located in Beijing, while the other is in Johannesburg, South Africa. The latter represents the first cloud computing center on the African continent, according to IBM.

IBM said the centers will be used to deliver applications and other IT services to customers over the Internet under a hosted model that's been dubbed cloud computing. The centers will serve users both in their local areas and internationally, IBM said.

IBM is already operating similar centers in Ireland, Vietnam, and other emerging markets.

IBM is banking on the fact that many businesses in less-developed nations lack legacy, client-server infrastructures, where data and applications are stored locally, and thus are positioned to jump straight into cloud computing.

"These centers will enable our clients in China and sub-Saharan Africa to better embrace the services-based global economy," said Nick Donofrio, IBM's executive VP for innovation and technology, in a statement.

IBM earlier this year earmarked an additional $1.6 billion to build up its presence in emerging markets, including $120 million in sub-Saharan Africa over the next two years.

Local officials are hopeful that investment by IBM and other tech vendors in their economies will promote growth and modernization.

"We are highly energized by IBM's investment because it directly responds to our call for increased private-sector investment into sustainable initiatives that advance priority technical skills," said South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in a statement.

In addition to cloud services, IBM's Johannesburg center will offer customers access to a range of Web 2.0 technologies, systems management tools, and next-generation, IT-driven banking models, IBM said.