"Amazon Web Services is one of the three pillars for the company, along with its e-commerce market and Amazon Prime," explains Bikram Singh Bedi, the AWS head for India. And now that the company has launched its 13th region in the world in Mumbai, it's possible that the next stage of growth the company sees in India could well come from the government.
"We already have 75,000 customers in India, and many others are keen to start using AWS," says Bedi. "And for some of these customers, having a presence in India was needed for reasons of low latency in some cases, or for data residency."
What does data residency mean? Very simply, it's the idea that data from India should stay within the country's borders to protect it from being hacked, misused, or be accessed by governments or other entities of the country where the data resides. It's one of the topics that India and the US are discussing to enhance cyber security. A startup here might be more concerned about price, availability, and efficiency, but the same won't necessarily be true for the government or financial institutions, which may be bound by data residency regulations.
Bedi doesn't confirm if Amazon has any major plans lined up with the government which influenced its decision to open a new region in India; he instead points out that the company already had several customers in India, who were being served out of AWS regions like Singapore and Frankfurt, who will benefit from having a region in India.
"The $5 billion (roughly Rs. 33,376 crores) Jeff announced earlier will also be used to build out AWS infrastructure," Bedi explained, "and we're listening to our customers and trying to evolve and offer more for them."
"For example we have a tool called Device Farm - basically, if you're making a mobile app, you need to test it also but there are so many devices," he continued, "so either you can buy hundreds of phones, or you can use the Device Farm to quickly test your application across a number of devices. And based on the feedback from the users from India, we added a lot of India specific devices, like entry-level Samsung, Intex, Lava phones."
That being said, Bedi says that the public sector space is very exciting in India. "We have been in talks with some government departments - obviously I can't name any right now - and the residency laws do matter in that case," he says, "but startups are also a very important part of our customers, and for many of them, AWS is a great option because it helps them to go global quickly without wasted effort or money."