BEIJING (TheStreet) -- Government agencies that supervise China's digital economy want Chinese companies to control more of the domestic and world cloud computing markets.
Beijing policymakers are encouraging state-run companies such as China Mobile (CHL) and Hong Kong-listed ZTE to expand their existing cloud services. And they're accepting applications for government funding from any domestic company with a major cloud project that meets certain criteria.
The government hasn't said how much it plans to spend on the project, which was rolled out late last month jointly by the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Finance.
NDRC said the government now ranks cloud computing as a nationally strategic industry. Companies in other strategic sectors, such as military hardware manufacturers, are eligible for market protection. The agency also said Beijing would support companies that provide "public service platforms in the cloud, cloud-based platforms for data services, and cloud computing solutions for big data."
The goal is apparently not to challenge online services such as Salesforce (CRM) and LinkedIn (LNKD). Rather the idea is to help domestic companies expand into data storage and cloud-related software and hardware businesses to compete against foreign companies that now sell cloud services in China -- like IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT).
Tech sector analysts say the government wants to build a cloud computing backbone in China for the domestic and worldwide use of smartphones, smart watches, self-driving cars, home automation systems and other consumer computing devices.