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The Man Behind Cloud Valley

• Technology Review
In a suburb of Beijing, 800 workers arrive each day to a glass-and-masonry office block and a shared mission: to create China's version of the Internet cloud. 

Known as Cloud Valley, the 7,000-square-meter technology campus is the creation of Edward Tian, a 48-year old entrepreneur credited with bringing broadband Internet to China in the 1990s. On the campus, millions in investments from Tian's enterprises now fund engineers to wire-up servers into refrigerated shipping containers and all-night coding sessions by young programmers. These are components of what Tian hopes will become a complete supply chain for cloud computing—all of it Made in China. 

China is home to the world's largest population of Internet users, some 485 million, as well as its most-used micro-blogging service, the freewheeling and often-controversial Sina Weibo. Despite a boisterous Internet culture, however, the country has not been on the cutting edge of computer innovation. China assembles PCs and laptops that were designed elsewhere, and its use of web-based technology still lags badly. Government offices often require fax communications, and many small businesses do accounting, literally, out of a shoebox. With cloud computing, Tian believes he can help Chinese businesses, individual users, and government departments leapfrog into the 21st century—bypassing decades of legacy hardware and software.

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