Amazon CTO on opening Southeast Asia cloud regions

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Amazon is opening cloud regions in Southeast Asia because customers want their data stored securely in their own countries, Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels said in an exclusive interview.

“The reason for this is that many of our customers have been asking for that. They really wanted something local such that they can meet, for example, local data storage requirements, or protection of personal identifiable information,” Vogels told CNBC’s JP Ong.

Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, was the world’s largest cloud service provider in the fourth quarter, accounting for 31% of total cloud spending, according to a Feb. 26 report from Canalys.

An AWS region is a physical location where data centers are clustered. Within each AWS region are a minimum of three separate availability zones. Each zone has its own power, cooling and physical security and is connected through redundant, ultra-low-latency networks.

“And it’s not just startups that are looking for that. Big enterprises and government agencies as well. You can imagine government agencies want to go through a digital transformation as well,” Vogels said.

“And for them, it’s important to have these kinds of technologies on the ground, in [the] country to make sure that they can serve their customers best or their citizens best,” said Vogels.

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Amazon in November said it is launching a new AWS Region in Malaysia this year. It previously committed a 25.5 billion Malaysian ringgit ($6 billion) investment by 2037 to support the government’s ambitions to transform Malaysia into a “high-income” digital economy by 2030.

“This new AWS Region will also enable customers with data residency preferences to store data securely in Malaysia, help customers to achieve even lower latency, and serve demand for cloud services across Southeast Asia,” the statement said.

This comes after AWS opened a cloud region in Indonesia in December 2021 and in Singapore in 2010. AWS is also planning to launch an infrastructure region in Thailand.

AWS already operates multiple regions across North America, South America, Europe, China, Asia Pacific, South Africa and the Middle East.

“And especially, of course, the security capabilities that AWS has, that allows us to protect these customers. Security, will be, and is forever, our number one priority. [It] is our number one investment area,” said Vogels.

“And to be able to keep customers safe in our compute regions, [it] is of great attraction to companies here in the region and also governments.”

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