Amazon has decided to buck the current trend and brave the headwind of the trade war by establishing a massive Internet of Things (IoT) research and development center in Shenzhen, a city some American companies are considering leaving.

The move by the US tech giant is also a boost to Shenzhen, as Amazon is among the first leading overseas multinationals to establish a foothold there. It is considered a vote of confidence after Beijing released a policy paper outlining its plan to turn the southern Chinese tech boomtown into a world city showcasing the virtues of China’s socialist system.

The new IoT Lab, under the umbrella of Amazon Web Services, will help customers accelerate the design and deployment of IoT solutions. Both hardware products and software solutions will be developed and trialed at the facility.

The Seattle-based e-commerce, cloud computing and digital streaming company noted in a press release that a number of Chinese giants, including Lenovo and Guangdong-based electronics company TCL, would be the lab’s launching partners, as their products are fully compatible with IoT standards for a wide range of industrial applications.

Amazon announced the Shenzhen IoT lab project, the second of its kind in Asia – the other is in Taipei – at the end of last month.

The new lab will be staffed with cross-domain engineers and solution architects with IoT expertise to assist partners and customers on projects that range from hardware qualification to the testing and deployment of end-to-end solutions, and to help identify the best technologies from a complex ecosystem of IoT building blocks.

Shenzhen, home to Tencent, Huawei, DJI and ZTE, aims to attract overseas tech firms to set up labs in the city. Photo: Asia Times

Shenzhen was chosen from a shortlist of cities across the Greater China region and Southeast Asia due to its position at the center of the world’s device manufacturing hub, said Dirk Didascalou, vice-president of Amazon Web Services.

“With the second IoT Lab in Greater China now operational in the country’s manufacturing hub of Shenzhen, our IoT lab experts are working with customers to create strategic proof-of-concept demos and prototypes that empower them to get to market faster with their products and solutions,” said Elaine Chang, corporate vice president and managing director of Amazon Web Services Greater China.

Previously, Amazon dismissed rumors that it would close its major businesses across China, except for Kindle and its cross-border e-commerce activities.

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