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Tencent launches package of cloud services in global fight against coronavirus pandemic

Business unit Tencent Cloud is offering an ‘anti-Covid-19 service package’ to businesses, medical institutions, and governments worldwide.

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Tencent Holdings (HKG: 0700) is offering a bundle of cloud computing services to help businesses, medical institutions, and governments around the world, as they tackle various challenges amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The internet giant’s cloud computing unit, Tencent Cloud, introduced on Monday the first phase of an “international anti-COVID-19 service package”, which includes remote collaboration tools, systems to facilitate online medical consultation and products to help governments promote access to reliable information, according to the Shenzhen-based company’s announcement on Tuesday.

“Tencent Cloud will also provide free credits for some cloud service purchases to help companies and organizations in need,” the company said. These credits can be accessed through Tencent Cloud’s official website.

Cloud computing enables companies to buy, sell, lease or distribute a range of software and other digital resources as an on-demand service over the internet, just like electricity from a power grid. These resources are managed inside data centers. “Cloud” refers to the internet as depicted in computer network diagrams.

Tencent’s global cloud bundle is expected to meet surging demand for these services worldwide, as more people in the public and private sectors work from home to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

It also marks the company’s deepened commitment to assist in the global campaign against the pandemic, joining the efforts of other major Chinese hi-tech firms such as Alibaba Group Holding and TikTok owner ByteDance. E-commerce giant Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.

Initiatives from the broader technology industry to help in that campaign have come as the cost of the coronavirus pandemic could reach as high as USD 4.1 trillion, or almost 5% of global gross domestic product, according to the Asian Development Bank.

For Tencent, its latest cloud service bundle follows the company’s establishment of a USD 100 million global anti-COVID-19 fund and the roll-out of a global information platform about the disease.

Hong Kong-listed Tencent has also rolled out VooV Meeting, the international version of its Tencent Meeting service, in more than 100 countries and territories at no cost to users. This service can support meetings with up to 300 participants, which makes it a major tool for companies to work remotely, educational firms to teach online classes and medical institutions to provide online consultations.

While Tencent has sharpened its focus on cloud services in the past several years, the company best known for the world’s biggest video games business by revenue and super app WeChat remains behind Alibaba’s cloud subsidiary in China. Tencent Cloud’s share in the world’s second largest cloud market was 18% in the fourth quarter last year, behind Alibaba Cloud’s 46.4% share, according to a report by tech research firm Canalys last month.

Worldwide, the cloud services market is dominated by Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Corp’s Azure, and Google Cloud, according to Canalys.

This story was originally published in the South China Morning Post.