Cloud Manufacturing is emerging as a new manufacturing paradigm which is believed to change the way industries and enterprises do their businesses, in that dynamically scalable and virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. It can transform the traditional manufacturing business model, help it align product innovation with business strategy, and create intelligent factory networks that encourage effective collaboration. This paper introduces the concept of Cloud Manufacturing and its characteristics. The relationship between Cloud Manufacturing and other network-based manufacturing paradigms are analysed, together with a discussion on the connection between Cloud Manufacturing and Cloud Computing, intending to highlight the essence of real Cloud Manufacturing. Existing architecture and key functionalities of Cloud Manufacturing systems are introduced to identify an effective way of implementing Cloud Manufacturing. In this paper, a Cloud Manufacturing platform, called SMC (Sustainable Manufacturing Cloud) is proposed to achieve rapid development of customized products. This is envisioned as a prominent future business model and implementation strategy for Cloud Manufacturing, allowing for the easy realization of customized and original requirements. With an industry network consisting of heterogeneous nodes, being either design agencies or fabrication workshops, product innovation and customization can be achieved with minimum investment and effort. Copyright © 2013 by ASME.