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Company in focus

Tencent chases Alibaba for cloud computing supremacy

Battle could decide future of China's tech titans

COCO LIU, Nikkei staff writer | China

HONG KONG -- When Jack Ma and Pony Ma shared a stage at the 2010 IT Leaders Summit in Shenzhen, the two hugely influential Chinese technology tycoons were asked what they thought of the still-nascent field of cloud computing. The men, who are not related, gave starkly different answers.

Jack, who built Alibaba Group Holding, called the cloud a lifesaver for the future of his e-commerce conglomerate. "If we don't do this, we will die," he said. Pony, the chief of online entertainment giant Tencent Holdings, conceded that businesses might someday want to run their operations on third-party servers but argued it "would take centuries, if not a thousand years...to materialize."

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