Amazon Web Services announced yesterday that its cloud platform will be run out of data centres in Beijing, China, from early next year.
The announcement makes Amazon the second western tech heavyweight to deliver cloud services out of China, after rivals Microsoft set up operations in Beijing and Shanghai last year.
Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie told Techworld earlier this month that he expected other cloud providers, such as AWS and Google, to follow suit and move into China, where he said there is a unique and a growing market.
"These are companies that don’t have 20-year-old data centres so there’s an awful lot of demand for cloud, whereas more mature markets people have already got servers that can be used for a while," said Guthrie.
Both companies are relying on partners in the region to provide the infrastructure that they will deliver their cloud from.
AWS said its Chinese customers, who were previously forced to run their applications on infrastructure outside the country, will benefit from improved latency, and the ability to store data locally in China should they need to.
“China represents an important long-term market segment for AWS," said AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy. "We are looking forward to working with Chinese customers, partners, and government institutions to help small and large organisations use cloud computing to innovate and deploy faster, save money, expand their geographic reach, and do so without sacrificing security, availability, data durability, and reliability.”
AWS and Microsoft are competing with regional e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which dominates the Chinese market. Alibaba also has a cloud computing arm, started in 2009, which provides its sellers with data services.
Meanwhile, Google has refrained from delivering its cloud services out of China.
The search giant recently cancelled plans to build a $300 million (£183 million) data centre in the Chinese special economic area of Hong Kong, citing a lack of space.
“To keep up with the rapid growth in users and usage across the region, we need to focus on locations where we can build for economies of scale,” said a Google statement. “Unfortunately, there is a lack of land for expansion in Hong Kong.”
However, China's repressive attitude to the internet could be the real reason, according to Reuters.