Amazon Web Services (AWS) revealed ambitious plans in May to invest $12.7 billion USD in the Indian cloud infrastructure market by 2030. The announcement, made during the AWS Summit in Mumbai, reflects AWS’s commitment to meeting the escalating demand for cloud-based services from Indian customers.
This substantial investment will focus on bolstering India’s data centre infrastructure, paving the way for over 130,000 full-time equivalent jobs in various sectors each year, including construction, engineering, and telecommunications.
This recent announcement builds upon AWS’s previous investments in India, which total more than $3.7 billion between 2016 and 2022 and includes training more than four million people in cloud skills. Additionally, a 2021 study commissioned by Amazon found that companies in the Asia-Pacific could reduce their carbon footprint more than 78% by transitioning from on-premises data centres to the cloud, so the AWS move will also contribute to renewable energy projects in India.1
Meanwhile, also in the Asia-Pacific region, China’s largest cloud service, Alibaba Cloud, has begun streamlining its business in preparations for a spinoff over the next year, followed by an eventual IPO. The cloud division has started reducing staffing levels by 7% as part of their early efforts at transforming into what CEO Daniel Zhang termed the ‘Cloud Intelligence’ division, which will include Alibaba Cloud, AI, and DingTalk.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. plans to divide into six separate companies, with Alibaba Cloud being one of the biggest individual spinoffs, with projected annual revenue of up to $30 billion USD.2
Updates on Specific Cloud Companies
SAP SE and IBM announced a partnership in May that will see IBM Watson AI technology integrated into SAP applications. IBM Watson will play a crucial role in driving the digital assistant feature within SAP Start. By incorporating IBM Watson into SAP Start, users will enjoy a seamless and consolidated entry point for SAP’s comprehensive range of cloud offerings.
By leveraging the power of IBM Watson’s AI capabilities within SAP Start, SAP aims to revolutionize the user experience within its cloud environment and create a more efficient and effective platform for users. With IBM Watson’s advanced natural language capabilities and predictive insights, users will have an enhanced ability to search for and interact with the various apps available in SAP and SAP S/4HANA Cloud.3
In a bid to strengthen its cloud computing capabilities, Microsoft has partnered with AMD to expand the chipmaker’s presence in artificial intelligence processors.
The exponential growth of AI services, such as the wildly popular ChatGPT, has meant a spike in demand for processors that can handle the substantial cloud-based computational workloads. Microsoft has recently introduced AI-driven features, such as a chat-based version of Bing and AI-enhanced tools within Office. It is likewise updating existing products like GitHub’s code-generating tool to leverage the benefits of AI.4 All these AI programs heavily rely on Nvidia’s processors, highlighting the dependence of Microsoft’s Azure Cloud infrastructure on those chips.
The partnership with AMD aims to challenge Nvidia, which dominates the AI processor market with a staggering 80% share, and is part of Microsoft’s larger strategy to ensure it has access to multiple sources of processors (including developing in-house AI chips) to help it build and maintain its Azure Cloud capabilities.5
Investing in Cloud Computing with DATA ETF
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Portfolio Strategy and Activity
For the month, Amazon.com Inc made the largest contribution to the Fund, followed by ServiceNow Inc and Alphabet Inc. The largest detractors to performance for the month were Intuit, followed by SAP Se and Paylocity Holding Corp.
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1Bourne, J., “AWS to put $13 billion into India cloud infrastructure by 2030,” Cloud Tech, May 22, 2023; https://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2023/may/22/aws-to-put-13-billion-into-india-cloud-infrastructure-by-2030/
2“Alibaba’s Cloud Arm to Cut 7% of Staff in Overhaul, Sources Say,” Bloomberg News, May 23, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-05-23/alibaba-s-cloud-arm-is-said-to-cut-7-of-staff-in-overhaul
3“SAP to Embed IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence into SAP Solutions,” SAP News, May 2, 2023; https://news.sap.com/2023/05/ibm-watson-artificial-intelligence-in-sap-solutions/
4Bass, D., & King, I., “Microsoft Working With AMD on Expansion Into AI Processors,” Bloomberg, May 4, 2023; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-05-04/microsoft-is-helping-finance-amd-s-expansion-into-ai-chips
4Weatherbed, J., “Microsoft is reportedly helping AMD expand into AI chips,” The Verge, May 5, 2023; https://www.theverge.com/2023/5/5/23712242/microsoft-amd-ai-processor-chip-nvidia-gpu-athena-mi300