US looks to cut China cloud access to AWS, Azure and more

The Biden administration is preparing a plan that would see China’s access to cloud computing services restricted as the two countries continue to battle it out.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the move comes in response to a workaround that has seen Chinese companies renting cloud compute instances to bypass bans on chips set out by the US, and often, for cheaper.

It is expected that the new rule would require cloud computing companies to get government approval before serving Chinese customers.

Cloud computing ban for Chinese customers

Both countries have access to some of the most powerful hardware anywhere in the world, which is proving vital in a time when customers globally are looking to develop their own large models and other artificial intelligence workloads.

The US and China have imposed various sanctions and rules to limit the supply of computing elements in an effort to prevent the other from getting access to potentially more powerful capabilities.

Having already banned the export of AI chips to China, this move will see the US virtually ban China from using any of its technology to develop AI tools.

The US Department of Commerce has so far remained quiet about the potential ban, instead refusing to comment, but sources familiar with the matter suggest the change to the way US cloud companies can interact with Chinese customers could come into force in a matter of weeks.

Despite being intended to work in the US’s favor, the war is very much two-sided and China has responded as such, banning the export of certain materials used to make chips as well as some chips themselves, with some US Micron customers being affected.

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