Getting Started with AWS Services in AWS China (Beijing) Region and AWS China (Ningxia) Region
“We change the world when we meet the needs of others”
China is an important market for global companies. Both enterprises and startups conducting or expanding business in China would like to know how they can improve their productivity with AWS services in Greater China, with AWS regions located in Beijing, Ningxia, and Hong Kong. To provide the best experience for customers in mainland China and to comply with China’s legal and regulatory requirements, AWS has collaborated with local partners in China who have proper telecom licenses for delivering cloud services within the AWS China (Beijing) Region and the AWS China (Ningxia) Region.The new AWS Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) Region was launched in April 2019.
This blog provides general information to help you understand and get started using AWS services in Beijing and Ningxia Regions in China. We will assume readers are familiar with AWS services, and focus this blog on how the Beijing and Ningxia Regions are different from standard global regions.
AWS Services in China Beijing and Ningxia Regions
Global companies usually consider using the AWS China Regions for one or both of the following reasons: to provide improved local services with faster response to customers in China, or some companies are required to use the AWS China Regions based on datacenter operation and data storage requirements of Chinese law and regulations governing the industry’s business practices.
AWS services in mainland China are operated by two local qualified companies. The AWS China (Beijing) Region, which was generally available to Chinese customers in 2016, is operated by Beijing Sinnet Technology Co. Ltd. (Sinnet), while the AWS China (Ningxia) Region, which was launched in 2017, is operated by Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology Co., Ltd. (NWCD).
AWS provides its industry-advanced standard cloud technology, guidance, and expertise to Sinnet and NWCD. Both Sinnet and NWCD have the required telecom licenses to operate these regions in compliance with Chinese regulations, and they provide AWS services to customers in mainland China. These regions use local management console and account systems for users, endpoints, billing, and support charges, with similar GUI and APIs, as well as a high level of performance and security consistent with other AWS regions.
There are two Availability Zones in the Beijing Region and three in the Ningxia Region. For services available in these two regions, please visit Regional Product Services. Additional services are added to the regions constantly. New services launched last year include Amazon EC2 T3, C5, R5, M5, and P3 Instances; Amazon Key Management System, Amazon Aurora; Amazon Aurora ServerlessS3 Glacier Deep Archive; Amazon ECS; Amazon Polly; Amazon GameLift; AWS IoT Core, AWS IoT Greengrass, AWS IoT Device Management. AWS Snowball; AWS Server Migrations Service; AWS Database Migrations Service; AWS Step Functions; AWS CodeBuild; AWS CodeDeploy; AWS Elemental MediaConvert; etc.
AWS services offered by AWS China (Ningxia) Region as of August 2019
Signing up for AWS China Regions
To use AWS services in AWS China (Beijing) Region and AWS China (Ningxia) Region, you need an account and credentials specific to the AWS services in mainland China. Accounts created for other AWS global regions cannot be used for accessing AWS services in mainland China. Similarly, AWS services for Chinese accounts cannot work in AWS regions outside the Beijing and Ningxia Regions.
In accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, your identity must be verified before you may access AWS China Regions. Companies that want to register for an AWS China account need to provide a valid Chinese business license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Commerce of People’s Republic of China (PRC) or a valid license/permit issued by a qualified Chinese governmental organization that can show evidence of your due incorporation and valid existence, a valid corporate email address, and the contact person’s ID and mobile phone number. Companies may use their subsidiaries’ business license in mainland China to supply the required information.
AWS China Gateway portal provides a one-stop service to customers outside of mainland China to leverage AWS China Regions. The website walks you through the process of signing up for AWS services in mainland China, helping you create an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user administrator credential during the sign-up process. You can sign in to the China AWS services console with your newly-created account ID.
AWS services in AWS China Regions use a dedicated region-specific management console, available in both Chinese and English, which can be accessed on the Amazon AWS console website. You must have already created credentials during the sign-up process, as provided by IAM service.
Billing & Tax in AWS China Regions
AWS services in mainland China are priced and billed in local currency (CNY) and processed by Sinnet and NWCD. You first use the resources, then receive an invoice based on usage. Each month, invoices will be sent to the email address of the account owner. You can also view your AWS services in China bill on the Bills page of the AWS Billing and Cost Management console. You may pay the bill using either wire transfer, corporate bank redirect payment, or other payment methods supported in these regions.
For each AWS user in China account you create, you can enter your tax information on the Tax Settings page of the AWS Billing and Cost Management console. In addition to providing your name, business information, and address for tax purposes, you also specify the type of value-added tax invoice you want to receive from AWS services in mainland China.
ICP Filing for Internet Information Services in Mainland China
In accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, if you use either AWS China Region to host a website providing non-commercial internet information services, you must undertake filing procedures for a non-commercial website (“ICP Recordal”) at the relevant government authority. If you use either AWS China Region to host a website providing commercial internet information services, you must obtain a value-added telecommunications license for a commercial website (“ICP License”) from the relevant government authority. You may be required to produce your ICP Recordal or ICP License, as applicable, before you host public content using one of the AWS China Regions.
In the AWS Billing and Cost Management console, choose the ICP Recordal link and follow the instructions on the page. Both Sinnet and NWCD may provide assistance to customers in procuring or maintaining the ICP Recordal or the ICP License, while customers are responsible for any fees payable to the applicable government authorities. To learn more about the filing procedures, please visit the Sinnet or NWCD websites.
Network Connections for AWS China Regions
AWS China (Beijing) Region and AWS China (Ningxia) Region are not directly connected to AWS global backbone. To reduce the potential packet loss and latency of internet between China regions and global regions, AWS cooperates with China ISP to optimize the internet routes. China local ISP, like China Telecom, also provides value added solutions for further optimization of internet access. To help customers connect to VPCs in China and global regions, state-owned ISPs, like China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, provide fully compliant dedicated lines for customers via AWS DirectConnect. By using China Mobile, for example, a hosted connection can be set up in one week. Customers need to sign a contract directly with SP, which is like the process in any other region. Last but not least, customers need to comply with Chinese laws to determine schemes for data transferring and localization.
Relevant Compliance and Regulatory Requirements in Mainland China
Customers doing business in China and using AWS services in Beijing and Ningxia Regions must meet Chinese legal requirements. In some cases, customers of the AWS China Regions use AWS to help them to achieve compliance for their business in China.
Depending on the business you are operating in China, there might be several regulatory requirements besides the ICP requirements that you need to take note of, including but not limited to: (1) security obligations under China Cybersecurity Law, (2) Multi-level Protection Scheme (MLPS) Certification, and (3) cryptographic related regulations, etc. Both Sinnet and NWCD with AWS’s support will continue to invest in ensuring the underlying platform, service components, and operations meet the data residency, cryptographic, MLPS, and other global standard certifications requirements. There is a Regulatory & Industry Security Engagement Program, which provides information, channels, and support in accessing the latest regulations and standards to AWS China Region customers. Seeking professional regulatory advice based on your business scenario is always encouraged.
Implementation of AWS services in Mainland China
You should take note of the following when using AWS services in the Beijing and Ningxia Regions.
- To use services in the Beijing and Ningxia Regions, you need an account and credentials specific to the Beijing and Ningxia Regions.
- In Ningxia or Beijing Region, there is no concept of “root” or “account” user or credentials. All users are IAM users, including the user who created the account.
- The domain for AWS China Regions is www.amazonaws.cn.
- Beijing Region and Ningxia Region are not connected by AWS backbone to the AWS Global Regions.
- AWS China Regions names are as follows. Beijing: cn-north-1; Ningxia: cn-northwest-1.
- The endpoints for services in the Beijing Region and the Ningxia Region are different from other AWS global endpoints. The endpoint domain for both the Beijing and Ningxia Regions is amazonaws.com.cn. Endpoint syntax varies from service to service. For more information, see China (Beijing), China (Ningxia), and the service-specific documentation.
- In AWS China Regions, the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) syntax includes a cn. For example: arn:aws-cn:iam::123456789012:user/division_abc/subdivision_xyz/Bob.
- The EC2-Classic platform is not supported.
- AWS Free Tier is not available in AWS China Regions as now.
References of AWS Global Customer in Mainland China
Some references of AWS global customers who also used AWS China Regions are: Samsung, Philips, ThermoFisher, Siemens, Adidas, Nike, Map Quest, DerbySoft, etc. Some of these companies shared their success stories publicly and also in past AWS Beijing/Shanghai Summits.
AWS China Gateway portal and China Global Team
AWS recently launched the AWS China Gateway portal that provides information that helps customers of all sizes get started using AWS to grow their business in China.
AWS China Global Team specializes in providing customer services and supports, including solution architecture and professional and technical support for AWS global customers. Working together with AWS worldwide teams, AWS China Global Team will provide information to help AWS global customers to succeed in their business in mainland China. To contact China Global Team, please visit https://www.amazonaws.cn/en/contact-us/.