Previously, few people would have connected the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, a cool, dry underdeveloped area famous for growing goji berries, with high-technology data centers.
But that changed when Amazon Web Services, a division of the e-commerce website, signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-December with the Beijing municipal government and the Ningxia government for the joint construction and development of cloud computing services for Chinese clients.
Beijing will be the front office and Ningxia will be the back office of the venture, known as AWS China.
Ningxia has announced plans to build a gigantic cloud computing base covering 12.8 square kilometers that can eventually house 1 million servers.
Despite a sparse population and small economy, Ningxia has ambitions to host many massive data centers, as do other local governments in that part of the country. Analysts said that the dream is quite feasible, as there will be more such centers being located in western China.