Google shuts down cloud project in China

Joanna Estrada
July 11, 2020

As reported by Bloomberg, two employees familiar with the matter said the decision was inspired by the struggles caused by the ongoing pandemic and also the political tensions between U.S. and China, which was mentioned in their closure report.

Isolated Region was an initiative that aimed at helping countries keep control of data within their borders and was thought to be a "massive strategy shift", according to Bloomberg's sources.

According to two Google employees who spoke to Bloomberg, the project was part of a larger initiative called "Sharded Google" to create data and processing infrastructure that is completely separate from the rest of the company's network. Google Cloud generated billion in revenue in 2019, a 53 percent increase over the previous year, as it has expanded into the financials and government sectors. One employee claimed that geopolitical issues placed demands on the Isolated Region project that Google could not deliver on.

For its part, Google denied that those tensions played a part in its decision to shelve the project, saying it had not been planning to offer services to China.

But after the report publishing, Google's spokesperson said another reason that Isolated Region was closed because the "Other approaches we were actively pursuing offered better outcomes".

"Isolated Region" was just one of the paths explored by the company to address requirements related to adoption of cloud technology, a company spokesperson said.

The project, which was launched in early 2018, sought to comply with Chinese regulations which require Western companies to form a joint venture with a Chinese partner company when they provide data or networking services.

"What we learned from customer conversations and input from government stakeholders in Europe and elsewhere is that other approaches we were actively pursuing offered better outcomes".

Rivals Amazon and Microsoft sell their cloud services in China but Google does not.

Al Jazeera reported that a spokesperson from Google said the Isolated Region wasn't shut down due to geopolitical concerns or the Coronavirus pandemic and the company isn't weighing options to offer the Google Cloud Platform in China.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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