Microsoft China Veteran Poached by JD.com in Cloud-Services Coup

By Liza Lin Features Dow Jones Newswires

In a blow to Microsoft Corp., a top cloud-computing executive in China has been hired by JD.com Inc., the e-commerce company that is ramping up its cloud-services business.

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Samuel Shen, a Microsoft veteran of 24 years and the former general manager of its cloud and enterprise business in China, took the job as JD's president of its cloud unit, Beijing-based JD said in a statement Tuesday.

Cloud platforms, which provide data storage, computing and networking resources over the internet, reduce the need for on-site servers. Foreign companies such as Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc. provide services in China through joint ventures with local partners.

U.S. lawmakers have spoken out against draft rules, proposed by Beijing late last year, requiring companies to essentially transfer ownership and operations of their cloud services to Chinese partners.

China's market for cloud infrastructure as a service rose 68% to $1.47 billion in 2016, according to industry researcher International Data Corp.

The cloud unit of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is China's biggest provider of these services with about 40% market share. Microsoft has about 5%, and JD's market share was too small to be ranked in a recent IDC survey.

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Mr. Shen has led Microsoft's China cloud service, known as Azure, since 2015. He was also chief operating officer at Microsoft's Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group, where he helmed Microsoft's development strategy in big data and the Internet of Things.

Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a WSJ conference in Hong Kong this June, Microsoft's Greater China chairman Alain Crozier said its cloud business had been experiencing "very nice and very solid growth."

Write to Liza Lin at Liza.Lin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 12, 2017 07:21 ET (11:21 GMT)