Microsoft Azure is now generally available for all customers in China, making it the first global public cloud provider to have comprehensive cloud operations in China, Microsoft China announced today.

Operated by 21Vianet, Microsoft Azure provides fully functional services to cloud customers in China, and is already leading the market with over 3,000 customers, including CNTV, LineKong, GMW.cn, and Coca-Cola China, the software vendor said in a statement.

"Cloud computing is a strategic, growing industry in Shanghai that is playing a significant leading role in economic transformation and long-term sustainable development. Shanghai has a long-standing relationship with Microsoft, which has resulted in many contributions to local economic development and innovation," said Zhiqin Rong, the general secretary of Shanghai Municipal Commission Of Economy and Informatization. "We look forward to continuing to accelerating regional development through the intelligent city planning (CityNext), the 'Ocean of Cloud' Program, and now with local operations of Microsoft Azure. "

"As a result of the successful relationship with 21Vianet and the positive feedback from our customers, it's clear that Microsoft Azure has exceeded expectations." said Ralph Haupter, Corporate Vice President and CEO, Microsoft Greater China.

Microsoft Azure Offers Enterprise-Level Cloud Services to China

Based on local regulatory requirements, Microsoft is offering Microsoft Azure to customers in China through 21Vianet, a reliable and respected local partner who offers enterprise-level, world-class services in China. According to the cloud vendor, 21Vianet has already hired nearly 300 full-time, Microsoft-certified employees to support the company's Azure and Office 365 operations.

Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet delivers a 99.95 percent annual enterprise-level Service Level Agreement (SLA) and geo-redundant hosting.

"The open platform, flexibility and pay-as-you-go system makes Azure an ideal cloud solution for our Chinese customers," said Josh Chen, CEO of 21Vianet.

Microsoft's Cloud Footprint in China

Microsoft Azure's global launch in February 2010 marked Microsoft's entrance to cloud computing. The China Cloud Innovation Center (CCIC) was founded as a subsidiary of the Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group (ARD) in September of the same year.

CCIC's focus is to build a cloud ecosystem and localization map for Azure in China