SINGAPORE (Jan 15): We have all used cloud services at some time or other to access Gmail accounts, store photos in Dropbox and share our stories on Facebook. What is “the cloud”? It comprises cloud computing power, cloud services and cognitive computing capabilities. Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the internet. Companies can store data on the cloud, use an application on the cloud or use it as a utility.

The main providers of cloud platforms are familiar names such as, Microsoft, Alibaba Group Holding and Alphabet (the company that owns Google). In 2017, their stocks rose 57%, 44%, 102% and 36%, respectively.

Solution providers such as Amazon and Microsoft need servers, microprocessors, memory chips, storage capacity, graphics processing units (GPUs), semiconductor production equipment and data centres (see flow chart). The cloud value chain is substantial, encompassing companies from Korea to Singapore.

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