When entering the Chinese cloud market, one of the first decisions is to choose the cloud service provider. Several cloud service providers are functional in China such as Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, AWS China, Microsoft Azure China, Baidu, Huawei Cloud, China Telecom, and others. Alibaba Cloud, Huawei Cloud, and Tencent Cloud are the leaders with over 70% of the cloud market share in China. The US cloud service providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are as well present in the Chinese cloud market. However, both are operated by local service providers. AWS and Azure have collaborations with Chinese companies accordingly to accomplish China’s regulatory and legal requirements.
As you may probably know, China is the biggest country in the world, in terms of population and internet users. We are talking about 900 million internet users. In China you should not be afraid to fail a business, you should be afraid to succeed. And your organization will need to develop an accordingly cloud strategy for that. One of those critical decisions is which cloud services provider to choose. Each cloud service provider has its pros and cons, and before choosing one you should evaluate all of them. It is also very important to understand that depending on your use case there are providers that suit you better than others.
Based on the Canalys China Public Cloud Service Tracker report of 2022 Q3, Alibaba Cloud is the largest cloud service provider in China with a 36% market share, followed by Huawei Cloud with a 19% market share, Tencent Cloud in the 3rd position with 16% market share and Baidu AI Cloud is the 4th largest cloud service provider with a 9% market share. However, these are the top cloud service providers, and they all control around 80% of the market share in China.
Source: Canalys China Public Cloud Service Tracker report of 2022 Q3
It is not a question that has a right answer. Each cloud services provider has its pros and cons, and before choosing one you should evaluate all of them. It is also very important to understand that depending on your use case there are providers that suit you better than others. If your organization is already used to working and skilled with AWS or Azure, then it probably makes sense to continue using them in China. However, you should take into account, that these platforms have limited services as I will explain later. On the other hand, local providers such as Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud, are the best-positioned players in China.
Some key factors to consider when choosing the cloud provider :
Alibaba Cloud, also known as Aliyun, is a Chinese cloud computing company, which was officially launched in 2009. Alibaba Cloud is the subsidiary of Alibaba which is considered to be one of the world’s biggest technological companies, owning one of the largest web portals in the world, alibaba.com, as well as aliexpress.com. Alibaba Cloud is focused on developing cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for accelerating enterprise digital transformation and building intelligent industries. In 2014, Alibaba Cloud provided cloud computing services overseas, becoming the first Chinese company to provide cloud computing services around the globe. Alibaba Cloud operates 85 availability zones spread across 28 regions globally. Additionally, Alibaba Cloud CDN has 2,800+ cache nodes across Mainland China and outside Mainland China in 30+ countries and regions deployed with multiple ISPs, and provides 70+ product capabilities including computing, database, and networking, satisfying all your business needs.
Tencent Cloud is a subsidiary of Tencent which is considered to be one of the world’s biggest technological companies, owning one of the largest web portals in the world, QQ.com, and the largest social media worldwide, WeChat. Tencent Cloud is focused on developing cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for accelerating enterprise digital transformation and building intelligent industries. Tencent Cloud International operates 70 availability zones spread across 26 regions globally. However, the number of regions for greater node coverage. Additionally, Tencent Cloud CDN has 1,100+ cache nodes across Mainland China deployed with multiple ISPs, as well as 1,000+ cache nodes outside Mainland China in 30+ countries and regions.
AWS China is a completely separate entity from all other AWS regions. AWS China comprises 2 AWS regions, Beijing and Ningxia, with 6 availability zones in total. Beijing is operated by Sinnet and Ningxia is operated by NWCD. AWS has collaborations with those Chinese companies according to the law of China’s regulatory and legal requirements. AWS China has completely separated regions from the global regions. After the United States, China is the second country in the world to host more than one region with various availability zones. The most interesting thing is that the infrastructure within China is designed to the same specification and high availability as AWS global. AWS China has its regulatory framework to operate the cloud environment.
In the same way as AWS, Azure China is a physically separated instance of cloud services located in China. It’s independently operated and transacted by 21Vianet. Azure China was officially launched in 2014 and was the first international public cloud provider to bring its cloud technology to China. Microsoft Azure services are running in 5 regions in China such as China North, China North 2, China North 3, China East, and China East 2. China’s Northern regions are located in Beijing and Hebei while the other hand China’s eastern regions are located in Shanghai. China North and China East were released in 2014, China North 2 and China East 2 in 2018, and China North 3 in 2022. The 5 regions are available and operated in China with the help of the local partner, 21 Vianet.
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