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AWS India, Focused on Billions, Not Immediate Profitability

Profitability Challenges but Unmatched Potential, AWS India's Quest for Cloud Dominance

20 May 2023


Kunal Tyagi

India produced 3X more unicorns than China in 2022.png
  • AWS India, the Indian arm of Amazon's technology giant, prioritizes growth over short-term profits.

  • Despite facing challenges in achieving consistent profitability, AWS India has experienced remarkable revenue growth, surpassing the billion-dollar mark in FY22.

  • AWS India aims to build a diverse and inclusive tech team, invest in the Indian tech ecosystem, and incentivize startup growth in various sectors.

As the Indian arm of global technology giant Amazon, AWS India has capitalized on its parent company's ability to prioritize growth over short-term profits. While Amazon has invested billions in its loss-making ecommerce operations in India, it has simultaneously poured significant resources into its cloud business. AWS India has experienced remarkable growth, with its revenue surpassing the billion-dollar mark in FY22, more than doubling its FY20 figures. However, despite its impressive sales figures, AWS India has faced challenges in achieving consistent profitability. This blog explores the journey of AWS India, its long-term approach, and its strategies for sustained growth in the evolving cloud market.

The digital boom triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has not only benefited IT services providers but has also driven demand for dedicated cloud players like AWS. With the Co-Win app for COVID-19 built on AWS' platform, the company has demonstrated its ability to cater to critical digital requirements. Although AWS India achieved the milestone of one billion in sales in just four years, profitability has experienced a decline during the same period. The cost of evangelizing cloud services remains the key variable affecting the bottom line. Nevertheless, AWS India has leveraged the high gross margins of cloud services and its long-term perspective to sustain its growth trajectory.

While AWS India's revenue is a significant milestone, it is important to recognize that India represents only a small fraction of AWS' global operations. AWS' global revenue has consistently grown, reaching $80.1 billion with an operating income of $22.8 billion. In fact, AWS' cloud division generated $5.2 billion in operating income in Q4 alone, almost double the profit of Amazon as a whole. Puneet Chandok, a key figure in AWS India, is entrusted with the responsibility of navigating the company's long-term game plan. The Indian cloud market, dominated by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and IBM, is projected to reach $7.4 billion by 2024, indicating ample opportunities for AWS India's sustained growth.

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AWS India's investments extend beyond infrastructure and regional expansion. The company aims to build a diverse and inclusive tech team in India, catering to both domestic and global business needs. Despite incurring significant employee benefit expenses, AWS India plans to create 48,000 full-time jobs through the establishment of its second AWS infrastructure region in Hyderabad. Chandok emphasizes AWS India's commitment to long-term investments, serving as a testament to the company's dedication to the growth of both local and global businesses.

To foster growth, AWS has adopted a strategy of incentivizing startups with credits of up to $100,000, providing them with the necessary resources to scale up. This approach aims to nurture long-term relationships and convert these startups into profitable customers in the future. Chandok highlights the success stories of Dream 11, Swiggy, Zomato, and Paytm, illustrating how AWS has supported the growth of these companies and various sectors such as gaming, food tech, and fintech. With cloud technology reshaping and reinventing every industry in India, including banking, AWS India is well-positioned to cater to diverse business needs.

According to IDC, by 2023, many large companies will prioritize business outcomes rather than IT needs when selecting cloud providers. Technologies like data lakes, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) will play crucial roles in delivering customer value and increasing revenue. Chandok agrees with this assessment, emphasizing AWS India's focus on scale, capability, efficiency, productivity, and generative AI.

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