Amazon Web Services (AWS) is launching a second region in China with a new local partner, helping the company provide its services to customers in the country where regulations governing cloud services are becoming increasingly strict.

AWS China (Ningxia) will be operated by Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology Co (NWCD) and complements the existing AWS China (Beijing) region, which is operated by partner Sinnet.

NWCD will receive technology, guidance and expertise from AWS and provide the services to local users. Both China facilities have the same technology as other AWS regions but are separate from those outside the country.

Chinese customers, such as Lenovo and HiSense, also have an agreement with NWCD or Sinnet – not Amazon.

AWS China

It is claimed the launch will allow businesses and startups to work across multiple regions, improving availability.

“The second AWS Region in China is part of AWS’s ongoing commitment to offer best-in-class cloud technologies to Chinese customers,” said Andy Jassy, AWS CEO, AWS.

“For years, AWS and our partners have had an enthusiastic base of customers in China, a country with one of the world’s largest and most dynamic cloud ecosystems. We’re taking this step jointly with the Ningxia government and our operating partner, NWCD, both of whom worked tirelessly with us to achieve this milestone.

“Coupled with the AWS China (Beijing) Region, operated by Sinnet, the second AWS China Region will serve as the foundation for new cloud initiatives in China, especially in Western China, helping to transform businesses, increase innovation, and enhance the regional economy.”

AWS is the world leading public cloud platform but it has found China a tricky market to crack amid intense local competition from the likes of Alibaba and tighter regulation.

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Chinese law forbits non-Chinese companies from operating certain cloud services and a new Cyber Security Law (CSL) came into effect back in June, requiring certain companies to hold data within China and to undergo on-site security laws.

Furthermore the CSL adds additional restrictions on cross-border data transfers. 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 abroad. This would naturally make life extremely difficult for technology firms and their international customers.

As a result, last month, AWS sold some cloud assets to Sinnet for $300 million but stressed it was staying in the country.

AWS China (Ningxia) is Amazon’s seventh region in Asia-Pacific and it now has 46 Availibility Zones across 17 regions. There are also plans to open a new region in Hong Kong to serve the Asian market.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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