Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and Russia’s state-owned bank Sberbank are partnering to launch an enterprise cloud services platform in the country, the bank said on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This move is another way for Huawei to gain access to the Russian market with approximately 90 million users as it contends with major hurdles in the US.

  • Ren Zhengfei’s telecom behemoth has been developing its relationship with Russian companies over the last few years as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin bring the countries closer.
  • Sberbank said the platform is a unique solution in the market due to its high level of service integration and security.

Details: The strategic partnership is the first “on this scale between Russian and international cloud providers,” according to a Sberbank statement released on Tuesday.

  • Sberbank Cloud Advanced will offer 37 cloud services integrated in one platform, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), according to the statement.
  • Sberbank said that users will be able to set up and manage complex IT infrastructures such as big data clusters and automatically create, scale, and manage applications.
  • The platform will target small, medium, and large businesses, as well as small startups.

We are sure that businesspersons will appreciate this solution and it will become a great contribution to the digital transformation of Russia.

— Wang Wei, CEO, Huawei Cloud in Russia

Context: Huawei has been making moves in Russia’s digital market in the last few years while Sberbank is trying to transition from traditional banking into offering digital services.

  • Local media reported (in Russian) that Huawei entered the country’s cloud market in March 2018.
  • In 2018, Russia was the first country outside China where Huawei launched its digital payment service, Huawei Pay, in collaboration with Chinese financial services corporation UnionPay.
  • In June 2019, Putin and Xi met in St. Petersburg and talked about collaborating in the face of US “unilateralism” concerning technology.
  • Just days before, an agreement was signed between Huawei and Russia’s largest telecom operator to build the first 5G network in Russia.
  • The two leaders agree on several aspects of technological policy, such as data localization. Putin has fined Facebook and Twitter for not storing customer data in Russia, a rule that Xi’s China is also enforcing.
  • Russia has a homegrown tech ecosystem in which Sberbank plays a key role. The bank was an early investor in Yandex, sometimes called Russia’s Google, which offers platforms ranging from online maps, ride-hailing, and e-commerce to search. Sberbank sold its stake in December 2019 but remains a key partner.
  • Sberbank is also an indirect investor in AliExpress Russia, a joint venture in Russian e-commerce and social media. It was formed in 2018 between Alibaba, Russian mobile telecom operator MegaFon, Russian tech company Mail.ru, and a Russian sovereign-wealth fund.

Eliza is TechNode's community listening reporter at the Shanghai office. She acts as a link between the editorial team and TechNode Squared members. She previously worked as a reporter for WikiTribune... More by Eliza Gkritsi

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