Amazon has just made a significant announcement after it revealed that its Web Services (AWS) cloud computing business will begin offering local services in China next year.

The company says it has signed memorandums of understanding with local governments in Beijing and Ningxia to develop cloud computing services, and that a limited preview of its service will come to the country in early 2014. Initially, Amazon will invite ‘selected’ domestic and multinational businesses in China to adopt the services (which are listed here), with a view to opening it to others later.

Multiple partners — including ChinaNetCenter and SINNET — have been recruited to help run its operations and provide servers, infrastructure and others services. That, of course, makes the prospect of authorities gaining access to data on AWS more likely than using overseas servers, but towing to local demands is very much an essential part of doing business in China.

AWS say it already has “thousands” of customers in China — including tech giants Qihoo 360 and Xiaomi — and that the move is a response to demand for a locally-hosted service.

“China represents an important long-term market segment for AWS. We are looking forward to working with Chinese customers, partners, and government institutions to help small and large organizations use cloud computing,” said Andy Jassy, Senior VP at Amazon Web Services.

This year has been a significant one for Amazon in China, it began selling its Kindle devices in June having laid the groundwork when it introduced its Kindle apps and bookstore in December 2012.

➤ Amazon Web Services Announces Upcoming China Region for its Cloud Computing Platform [Amazon]

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