Russia's Sberbank partners with China's Huawei on cloud services

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russian bank Sberbank is seen on a screen during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 6, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Sberbank and Chinese technology giant Huawei said on Tuesday they had formed a strategic partnership to provide cloud services for Russian businesses, extending the reach of Russia’s largest bank into the country’s digital economy.

SberCloud.Advanced clients, which Sberbank hopes will range from large businesses to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, will have access to 37 new cloud services, and will represent a first on the Russian market because all services will be fully integrated into one system.

State-owned Sberbank, which has investments in Russian internet giants Yandex and Mail.Ru, has been steadily transforming itself from banking to online services.

The partnership with Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, is further evidence of Sberbank’s commitment to its digital goals, which chief executive German Gref set out in a Reuters interview last year.

Huawei has drawn accusations from the United States that Beijing could use its equipment for spying, something it denies, as countries race to roll out next generation 5G mobile technology.

However, Huawei continues to operate in Russia, where its general director Wang Wei, said its deal with Sberbank could significantly improve the country’s digital prospects.

“This partnership truly represents a landmark for the Russian cloud services market,” he said.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Alexander Smith