AWS China’s Executive Liang Yan Joins Microsoft Azure

Recently, there have been changes in the core senior management of AWS Greater China Region: Liang Yan (L8), head of the Top Account department responsible for 13 top clients, has resigned and moved to Microsoft Azure Enterprise Customer Department. His official title is shown as Enterprise Commercial Lead.

It is reported that this position is within the team led by Yuan Yituo, Vice President of Microsoft China and General Manager of Enterprise Commercial Business Division. Currently, the basic structure of Microsoft Azure China’s senior management is as follows: Under the leadership of Hou Yang at the top position, there are two main divisions – one is the Digital Native Business Unit led by Tian Zhuo, mainly responsible for Internet customers; and the other is the Enterprise Commercial Business Unit led by Yuan Yituo, responsible for non-Internet customers.

According to sources familiar with the matter, before leaving his job, Liang Yan also signed a reportedly large GPU order with ByteDance.

In addition, after Liang Yan resigned, the Top Acct department is currently taken over by Gu Fan, who is also at L8 level and previously in charge of the “Strategic Business Development Department”.

A few days ago, AWS Greater China’s number one position Rui Song announced this personnel transfer in the form of an internal email. After the announcement was made, many industry insiders were quite surprised.

“At this critical moment, the head of the major client unexpectedly underwent changes.” In the eyes of many industry insiders, AWS China is currently facing a dilemma of “customer loss” under the dual pressure of competition from friendly competitors and the economic environment. At this time, changes in leadership may shake internal morale and customer confidence. Especially since these 13 major clients contribute nearly half of AWS China’s revenue.

Several industry insiders said that Microsoft Azure has been keen on poaching employees and customers from AWS China before, and in recent years has taken away many employees and customers from AWS.

Like former AWS China head Zhang Wenyi, Liang Yan also worked at Intel before being recruited by Zhang to AWS as the General Manager of the ‘Digital Native Business Unit’. In December last year, after Chu Ruisong took office, he restructured the AWS China team and specifically separated out 13 top clients to form a new ‘Top Account Department’, which was placed under Liang Yan’s responsibility.

Among the 13 major clients managed by Liang Yan, many of them have reached a plateau in terms of growth, such as Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo, etc. The new focus is on Pinduoduo‘s overseas expansion and Alibaba‘s overseas business. However, the former is being fiercely defended by Microsoft Azure; whether it can be won over remains uncertain. The latter faces intense competition from all sides, and if Alibaba‘s overseas business does not make significant progress in the future, any orders that could go to AWS would only be better than nothing.

It is reported that the KPI set by Chu Ruisong for Liang Yan in 2024 is lower than the average, which to some extent also reflects a decrease in his expectations for incremental growth from major clients.

Some industry insiders also believe that since Liang Yan transitioned from being in charge of the digital native department to leading the major client department, the actual size of his client base has decreased. If significant growth results cannot be achieved, there will be considerable pressure.

In addition, there is speculation that this personnel adjustment may be caused by changes in major clients. After all, the removal of the previous two heads of AWS Greater China, Rong Yongkang and Zhang Wenyi, was related to losing some orders from major clients ByteDance and SHEIN. Although a large order from ByteDance for GPUs was recently signed, it is still unknown whether there have been any changes with other major clients.

At the same time, Gu Fan’s appointment also surprised many industry insiders. It is reported that Gu Fan had previously worked at Intel and was discovered by Zhang Wenyi at Intel. He followed from Kindle to e-commerce to AWS. After the organizational adjustment at the end of last year, many teams under Gu Fan were reassigned, his management scope became smaller, leading to rumors within the industry that he would be marginalized. However, with Liang Yan’s departure this time, Gu Fan took over Liang Yan’s position and re-entered the top executive circle of AWS China.

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According to reports, the department previously led by Gu Fan was in the midfield, focusing more on providing solutions rather than directly handling orders. Among the various L8 executives, Shen Tao, Li Xiaomang, and Liang Yan are the main players responsible for direct order processing. With Gu Fan taking over the large customer department this time, it remains unknown whether there will be any impact on the department’s future business.

As AWS Greater China Region’s Q1 2024 financial report is released, industry insiders revealed that currently none of AWS China’s eight major industry sectors have met their Q1 KPIs. AWS’s KPIs typically increase gradually each quarter, indicating that as time goes on there will be more KPIs and greater performance pressure.

With the release of AWS Greater China Region’s Q1 2024 financial report, industry insiders revealed that currently most of the eight major industry lines in AWS China have not met their Q1 KPIs. AWS’s KPIs tend to increase gradually by quarter, which means that as time goes on, there will be more KPIs and greater performance pressure.

Loss of market share from existing customers, uncertainty among key clients, poaching of talent and customers by competitors – time is running out for AWS China.