Ecritel Asia explores this question by comparing Alibaba cloud and AWS in terms of datacenters, CDN, bandwidth, prices and other factors that may affect user experience.

Local leader V.S. Global giant

Aliyun V.S AWSThe huge potential of Chinese market has attracted many public cloud players despite the fierce competition. To have a review of the Chinese public cloud market and its main competitors, please have a look at our previous article (China Public Cloud Overview).


AWS is no doubt the world’s leading cloud computing platform with the broadest geographic coverage across the planet while Alibaba cloud, as a local leader, know the Chinese market better and has been expanding very fast. Below list some one-to-one mappings of the services provided by AWS and Alibaba Cloud in the Chinese market. Check which suits better for your Chinese operation.

Overall service comparison

Alibaba cloud and AWS offer a similar array of cloud-based services, but most of their services are not identical.  However, comparing each kind of service of Alibaba cloud and AWS is beyond the scope of this article. The following is a feature comparison of major parameters for your reference.

Service comparison

Datacenter and CDN services

Up till now, Alibaba cloud has 6 datacenters in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Qingdao and Hongkong) while AWS has launched two datacenters in China, respectively operated by Beijing Sinnet Technology and Ningxia Western Cloud Data Technology Co. Ltd. (NWCD) to support its business in China as in full compliance with Chinese regulations: all the personal data must be kept in China, and all the technical support must be provided by Chinese companies. Due to this reason, AWS also cooperates with a third-party content delivery network platform providers to support is business.


Closer distance to the datacenter will reduce network latency and enhance service speed. In this regard, Alibaba cloud seems to be a better choice for business in some regions.

Price comparison

The pricing structures for Alibaba Cloud storage and AWS storage are somewhat different and vary depending on which data centers you use and making a complete price comparison between the services of Alibaba Cloud and AWS is not possible as mentioned above, most of their services are not identical. However, we could still do a simple comparison between some basic services. We may take a quick look at the following two parameters:

In terms of bandwidth cost, Alibaba cloud charges RMB 0.72-0.8 per gigabyte while AWS charges RMB 0.9 per gigabyte plus RMB 0.09 tax;

In terms of storage cost, let’s take AWS’s S3 for example, it charges $0.023 per gigabyte for the first 50 gigabytes of data stored using standard storage, compared to $0.02 on Alibaba Cloud OSS at the equivalent tier;

Overall, it’s generally true that Alibaba cloud’s services are a bit cheaper than those of AWS’s.

Alibaba cloud and AWS provide basically similar cloud computing, security and other services but Alibaba cloud seems stronger in China. However, if you already use AWS worldwide, and develop your website or application in a way that it uses many features provided by AWS, it will probably be easier to keep using AWS in China even though the two environments will be separated, with distinct management console for each of them. When it comes to cost, the two major cloud providers’ pricing structure vary but their competition is no doubt an opportunity for customers to get a best price for the services suit their need.