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Amazon sells part of Chinese cloud computing business

14 November 2017

In a statement to TechCrunch, the online retail giant said it is not parting ways with its business in China, and will continue to offer the industry-leading cloud services to its customers in China. "‎We're excited about the significant business we have in China and its growth potential over the next number of years". Amazon has not yet provided the reason behind this exit, but it may be due to the tightening rules on foreign data and cloud services by Chinese regulators.

Amazon has been forced by new regulations passed in June to sell its China-based AWS assets to Beijing Sinnet Technology for $300 million.

Amazon announced its China AWS region back in December 2013, and noted at the time that, to comply with China's legal and regulatory requirements, it was working with local companies, including Sinnet, who would provide the necessary data centre infrastructure, bandwidth and network capabilities.

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The e-retailer added that it sold its physical assets of AWS to Sinnet in order to comply with the Chinese law.

"This move is mostly around regulatory compliance", said Charlie Dai, Beijing-based analyst at Forrester Research. In China, regulations require Amazon to operate via a local partner before offering the services to customers.

Amazon controlled over 40 per cent of the global market for public cloud services in 2016, well ahead of Microsoft Corp and Alibaba, according to Gartner estimates.

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Global firms in China, including Apple Inc, have this year transferred data to Chinese ventures overseen by local authorities. Companies targeted by the regulations are required to carry out a security self-assessment or obtain approval from the relevant regulator before transferring the controlled data overseas.

However, like its peers, Amazon has found it hard making headway in China, which is dominated by local tech giants Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Amazon shares acquired 50 cents to $1,129.67 mid-morning Tuesday.

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Amazon sells part of Chinese cloud computing business