AWS China vs AWS Global – Features Comparison

Chris DeAngelis

Written by Chris DeAngelis

03/31/2022

Cloud companies that are looking at China need to understand that AWS China does not have all of the services that Amazon offers globally. Companies looking to set up a cloud on AWS China often find it difficult to know exactly which services are offered in China by Amazon Web Services, partly because Amazon does not offer a clearly defined list of which are available, and which are not. Through our work helping global cloud companies set up their solutions within China, we have put together a comprehensive list of the services offered by AWS China as of April 2022.

As you’ll see in our chart below (feel free to download and share!), about two-thirds of the over 230 AWS global products are not offered by AWS China at present! That said, many of the most common services are offered, and this list should in no way deter companies from carrying out their China market entry, as workarounds can often be implemented to get companies up and running at least a test instance in a matter of months.

Challenges of setting up on AWS China

While many feature are available with AWS China, it should be clear that unlike most markets, getting an instance up and running in China is not as easy as just setting up on a new zone in AWS.

Some of the challenges companies commonly face when launching a cloud in China include:

  • Needing an existing legal entity in China or a local partner to open an AWS account in the first place.
  • Difficulty understanding the limitations and differences between the global and China versions of AWS and when special “workarounds” are needed.
  • Identifying whether the root causes of technical problems stem from differences in the China configuration and setup, and/or more fundamental problems inherent with China’s backbone and interconnections and/or the Great Firewall of China which is sporadically throttled up and down and has different stability characteristics regionally in China.
  • How to find the local tech stacks, workarounds, integrations, and other work necessary for compatibility with local requirements or to build a minimum-viable-product.
  • Inability or time drain trying to negotiate and sign contracts with China solution providers (tools, add-ins, integrations, etc.) that want to be paid locally and are not accustomed or willing to sign cross-border contracts.
  • Compliance – confirming and obtaining the licenses required to set-up a demo accounts, turn on various services such as VPNs or cross-border CDNs, and understanding what other user agreements or legal requirements may be necessary in China.

While experienced global IT teams, given sufficient extra time and resources, can usually overcome the technical challenges and get the global cloud running at a basic level inside of China, they will be often face unexcepted blockers trying to optimize or localize the China cloud for a commercial launch. Fortunately, the local market offers a plethora of solutions to address and accelerate your development in China.

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