Cisco Teams With TCL On $80M Public Cloud Initiative

Cisco is teaming up with Chinese electronics company TCL to create a joint public cloud platform that will deliver hosted collaboration services to enterprise users in China.

Cisco said in an emailed statement to CRN Thursday that the project is valued at $80 million. The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant is investing $16 million for a 20 percent ownership stake in the project. TCL will invest $64 million for an 80 percent stake.

Initial services offered through the platform, Cisco said, include hosted collaboration, online meetings, web conferencing, audio conferencing and video conferencing.

[Related: Cisco Intercloud Ecosystem Swells With 30 New Global Partners]

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TCL is set to name four directors to oversee the joint project, while Cisco will name one, according to a report Thursday from Reuters, which cited a TCL stock exchange filing. TCL will also decide on the core management team, the report said.

Other details on the project are light, and a Cisco spokesperson said the company is not currently holding press interviews on the topic.

The move does, however, underscore Cisco's growing commitment to attacking the public cloud market. In March, Cisco committed $1 billion to rolling out InterCloud, a global network of connected public, private and hybrid clouds. Cisco itself is building a network of data centers to host cloud services including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and will also host these services in partner-owned data centers -- or what it calls InterCloud "nodes" -- that use Cisco gear.

Last month, Cisco unveiled 30 new service providers, distributors and resellers that are joining the Intercloud ecosystem. Those companies include Charlotte, N.C.-based service provider Peak 10; Wayne, Pa.-based service provider Sungard Availability Services; and Redwood City, Calif.-based colocation provider Equinix. Systems integration giant Dimension Data and Australian telecom provider Telstra were also announced as partners earlier this year.

Cisco also launched last month a new, invitation-only solution provider program focused on Intercloud. The company in May tapped longtime channel chief Edison Peres to head up a new partner-focused Intercloud organization.

One Cisco solution provider told CRN that while the execution details of Intercloud still seem fuzzy, the vision is starting to take shape, thanks largely to Peres' efforts with partners.

"From a clarity-of-plans standpoint, I think they've made some nice strides," said the partner, who requested anonymity. "But these are still just mostly plans, and that's the challenge of it all as they continue to move forward."

The Cisco spokesperson could not immediately confirm whether the project with TCL is directly related to Cisco's Intercloud strategy.