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Amazon Makes Nice With Beijing, Expands Cloud Empire Into China

•, By Cade Metz
 On Wednesday, after signing an agreement with the Beijing and Ningxia governments, the American internet giant announced that it will soon offer its Amazon Web Services — online services for building and running large software applications — from data centers in Western China.

But unlike in other parts of the world, Amazon will not operate these computing centers on its own. It will offer its new services through local Chinese data center operators and internet service providers such as ChinaNetCenter and SINNET.

This the most practical way, it seems, that the big American web giants can move their cloud services into China. Microsoft uses a similar arrangement in the country, partnering with a local Chinese outfit, 21Vianet, to provide its Windows Azure and Office 365 cloud services in the region. This means, according to 21Vianet, that the services are subject to Chinese law, not U.S. law.

Amazon declined to discuss its new arrangement in China, but it seems that in partnering with local companies, Amazon can not only satisfy local regulatory and legal requirements, but also avoid having to turn over — under the U.S. Patriot Act — any information uploaded by customers to its Chinese cloud services.

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