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Microsoft to update Azure cloud service in China

US tech giant to incorporate AI and IOT features in Azure

Microsoft Corp will update its cloud service Azure in China by enhancing patent protection and incorporating artificial intelligence and Internet of Things features next month to help the US technology giant better compete with Chinese rivals like Alibaba and Huawei.

The updated cloud service targets firms “going out” and “coming into” China, referring to companies seeking overseas expansion and multinationals drawn to the country, said Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Azure, one of the top cloud services globally, operates in 42 countries and regions globally. Microsoft debuted the services in the domestic market by partnering local firm 21Vianet in 2014. The US giant has 80,000 enterprise clients in China, including Samsung China, Xiaomi and Mobike.

Microsoft Azure’s update, with 10,000 Microsoft patents, will be available in China from October 1. Microsoft will release dates for when AI and IOT will be available.

In the global cloud market, Microsoft faces rivals like Amazon and Google. In China, it faces challenges from Alibaba and Huawei, according to industry watchers.

In the second quarter of the year, the top four vendors were Amazon, Microsoft, Google and IBM and they accounted for 55 percent share of the global market, research firm Canalys said.

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