CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is extending its global managed hosting service set into China, an effort it says is driven initially by U.S.-based multinational corporations (MNCs) that want to establish a presence in the country.
In an interview with FierceTelecom, James Parker, senior VP, Partner and International Sales for CenturyLink, said the company's MNC customers were a key motivator.
"There's a unique set of country dynamics, they are pushing us to be inside mainland China," Parker said. "Married to that is our North America multi-national customers that are demanding us to be with them in that market."
Given the complexities of serving the China market and work to establish a platform for scale, the service provider has taken a partnership approach. It is working with three partners, including data center provider GDS, IT solutions and services provider Neusoft and network provider Citic Telecom CPC.
Located in the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, CenturyLink's partnership with GDS will enable it to immediately provide businesses access to its portfolio of managed hosting, security, cloud and networking solutions.
By establishing a partnership with Neusoft, CenturyLink said that businesses that need help entering the China market can also access extended services from CenturyLink through the Neusoft agreement.
"The combination of this really enables us to put together the infrastructure footprint that we layer our colocation set of services [on] and enables us to deliver our agreements and our global contracts to that market," Parker said. "By and large, we're not looking to deviate from SLAs, but there are some country-specific nuances."
Initially, CenturyLink will offer its well-established set of colocation services, but also its set of managed services, network monitoring and standard security services such as DDoS and firewall. The service provider will also provide a set of complementary consulting services for its business clients.
While he could not reveal company names, Parker said that the company has signed a few customers and is getting interest from others.
"The focus we have is on multinationals and we do have two clients that have been turned up," Parker said. "We have a very strong funnel that seems to grow almost weekly from clients that come into the market and are looking to extend contracts with us and their presence alongside ours in the market."
The timing for this build in China could not be better. According to Gartner, IT spending in China will reach $375 billion in 2015.
"In China, we have taken the first step where we have this collaboration with the local partners, getting our first hosting pod deployed in Shanghai, getting the frameworks in place because there's a strategy behind this to drive the next phase of expansion and ultimately the next phase would be scale," Parker said. "We realize over time we are going to have to be in more than one market in China and we need to have the right structure and right set of partners that can help us drive towards future expansion and future scale."
Already operating 57 data centers worldwide, including five in Asia, China is just one of several markets where CenturyLink is expanding its data center presence. In August, the service provider opened its second data center in the greater Toronto area called TR3.
Inside the broader Asia-Pacific region, Parker intimated that Australia could potentially be another area of growth, but he could not provide any specific details at this time.
"We're looking to expand in the Asia-Pacific region and Australia is certainly a hot market, but we're not ready to announce anything yet," Parker said
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