Amazon is selling physical assets to comply with the Chinese Law

There was a news about Amazon selling off their cloud assets in China to theri partner Sinnet - As per TechCrunch, Amazon did provide a clarification on this -

No, AWS did not sell its business in China and remains fully committed to ensuring Chinese customers continue to receive AWS’s industry leading cloud services. Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services. As a result, in order to comply with Chinese law, AWS sold certain physical infrastructure assets to Sinnet, its longtime Chinese partner and AWS seller-of-record for its AWS China (Beijing) Region. AWS continues to own the intellectual property for AWS Services worldwide. ‎We’re excited about the significant business we have in China and its growth potential over the next number of years.

Looks like the primary reason for this is due to the requirement for ICP licenses to operate any website. As a foreign company, Amazon cannot get the IDC/ICP license to operate in china - this is clearly highlighted on their website

ICP in China In accordance with Chinese law and regulations, the State subjects non-commercial internet information services to a record-filing system and commercial internet information services to a permit system. No one may engage in the provision of internet information services without having carried out record-filing procedures or obtained permission. If you use AWS China (Beijing) Region to host a website providing non-commercial Internet information services, you must undertake filing procedures for this non-commercial website (an “ICP Recordal”).

Sinnet, as the operator of AWS China (Beijing) Region, is also the IDC-licensed provider responsible for supporting and verifying ICP Recordal and ICP License for AWS China (Beijing) Region customers. Please click this link for downloading ICP recordal and ICP license introduction. To learn more information, please refer to Sinnet website

In order to use AWS in China, you need to get a separate AWS China account, the global account will not work in China.

Customers who wish to use AWS resources in China (Beijing) Region operated by Sinnet are required to create an AWS (China) Account, a set of credentials that are distinct and separate from other global AWS Accounts. Only customers with an AWS (China) Account will be able to use resources in the AWS China (Beijing) region operated by Sinnet. All customers who wish to use other global AWS regions outside of China will need to create a global AWS Account by visiting

From Amazon’s FAQ section

Q: What are the requirements to register for a China (Beijing) region account? According to Chinese laws and regulators, we need to verify your identity before allowing access to China (Beijing) region. Companies that want to register for a China (Beijing) region account need to provide [1] a valid Chinese business license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Commerce, [2] valid contact information. Once you have completed the registration form, a representative will contact you to follow-up on the registration process.

Q: Can I use my existing AWS Inc. Account to access the China (Beijing) Region? Customers who wish to use the new Beijing Region are required to sign up for a separate set of account credentials unique to the Beijing Region. Customers with existing AWS credentials will not be able to access resources in the Beijing Region.