Cloud Town: Betting big on the future

Mumbai: The Cloud Science and Technology Museum is the perfect place to learn about the building blocks leading to the emergence of cloud based technologies.

It also houses the Alibaba centre for quantum computing, appropriately called Apsara, named after the Chinese belief that Apsaras are divine spirits who dwell in the clouds and shower blessings on mankind.

Both the Cloud Town and Apsara are located in Hangzhou (the capital of China’s Zhejiang province). The reason Cloud Town is a tale that needs to be talked about is because of the number of amazingly innovative companies engaged with cutting age technologies that this town has been able to attract.

Cloud City has become an attractive place for such companies also because of the eco-system that is being created there, the amazing tech driven manpower pool that exists in the vicinity and the policies and infrastructure that this beautifully designed planned town offers.

At present, the town is divided into different sections namely cloud industry; city brain industry; space information industry; intelligent logistics industrial; and biomedical industry.

The birthplace of cloud computing, Cloud Town, was constructed in 2011 and is home to around 1,275 enterprises which include names like Alibaba Cloud, Beidou Timespace, DT Dream, Zhengcaiyun, Mediatek, Open Source China etc.

Companies like Alibaba Cloud are the first benefactors of this planned town. Alibaba Cloud's City Brain solution was piloted at the company's headquarters in this town, using artificial intelligence (AI) technology in urban management. That is why Cloud Town is also referred as the Alibaba city.

Making this town attractive among businesses was not an easy task, the local government had to introduce a set of policies to ensure that it happens smoothly.

“The technology park is supported by policies which is to attract not just Chinese talents but talent from overseas,” said a representative of the museum, who outlined the history of the town.

Some of the policies include rental subsidy as high as 100 per cent for first two years, and a rental subsidy of 50 per cent is given for third and fourth year; there is subsidy for network bandwidth costing as much as 1,40,000 yuan per year; subsidy to rent data centre resources and so on.

The authorities did not end there, they went on to develop policies to attract talent at home and overseas. They introduced other incentives as well – such as an offer of a maximum of 10 million yuan as start-up capital and a maximum of 1 million yuan as project funding; in addition to loan discounts on bank loans up to 5 million yuan and so on.

Other than providing a fully-functioning technology park, the space also offers an exhibition centre – The Cloud Town Convention and Exhibition Centre.

This centre was build in the record time of 84 days. This is no surprise for a country that has an aspiration to become a global player. “The centre used for conferences has been able to attract more than 1,50,000 attendees during the 2017 Hangzhou Cloud Conference.”

The numbers point to the popularity and relevance of the conference for tech-driven people. The town is also home to techies, and has educational institutions to spur such talent to excellence.

Every milestone of this town has been inscribed in the museum which today acts as a ready made guide on how to develop such a town.

Cloud town is located in the district of Xihu, known for its lake and its economic activities. Xihu district reported a total fiscal revenue of 27 billion yuan in 2018, and is expected to see a further growth on account of this technology park.

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