AWS China is a completely separate entity to all other AWS regions. There are many reasons for this which we will not cover here. We will focus on highlighting the differences you need to be aware of before applying for an AWS China account and operating it once you have one.
Applying for an account.
To apply for an AWS China account you will need both a China legal entity and a ICP Recordal/License.
What this means is that you will need a valid Chinese business license issued by the Bureau of Industry and Commerce. You can not apply for AWS or any cloud hosting service within China if you have no physical presence. There are many types of business licenses such as WOFE, RO or JV etc, which ever you have you will need to provide this and valid contact details.
To host a website in mainland China you are required to obtain an ICP (Internet Content Provider) Recordal or License.
Please note, that while you can obtain a AWS China account without a ICP Recordal/License and use it for anything other than website hosting ports 80, 8080 and 443 will be blocked until you provide the required documents.
Billing and Support
AWS China account are completely separate to global accounts in all aspects.
There is no consolidated billing for AWS China and global accounts.
You may have noticed there are no prices on the AWS China pages and that it does not appear on the AWS cost calculator.
To find AWS China pricing login to your Management Console and navigate to your “Billing and Cost Management” page. You will find a link here to “View pricing details”.
AWS China support is also separate to global support. You can not consolidate support and will need to purchase support for AWS China separately.
There is currently no free tier for AWS China. Though sometimes you can get “credits” applied to your account, and generally speaking they are very helpful to startups and new AWS users.
General Operational Differences
Once you have an AWS China account you will find there are a number of operational differences, you can not view other regions or perform any cross region actions.
IAM Role Delegation
Some third party AWS services access your account using IAM Role Delegation, this is currently not supported by AWS China. You can get around this buy creating IAM users with the appropriate permissions and sharing their AWS Access Key and AWS Secret Key.
AWS CLI does support AWS China and applications written using this will work fine.
Multi Factor Authentication
Currently AWS China does not support MFA, so pick secure passwords.
AWS China does not currently have access to any form of AWS marketplace. There are some community AMI’s but these are limited in comparison to what is available globally.
Cross Region Copying
You can not copy AMI, EBS Snapshots etc from global regions to AWS China.
AWS China users its own region-specific console. You can not switch to other regions from within this console. This also applies to the global console with cannot switch to AWS China.
AWS China currently supports only English and Simplified Chinese as language options.
Naturally as with every region there are differences with the services available. AWS China(Beijing) only has 2 Availability Zones so don’t expect services such as Aurora at the moment.
Route 53 and CloudFront
Neither route 53 or CloudFront are available at this time in China. You will need to use third party DNS and CDN services.
To put it simply, AWS China needs to be viewed as a completely separate account with its own billing and support. While some things will work such as Cloud Formation templates and Code Deploy scripts, assuming they only use services available in China, most things will need to be setup again from scratch.