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Alibaba Cloud (alibabacloud.com)
520 points by paulmach 131 days ago | hide | past | web | 353 comments | favorite

> https://www.alibabacloud.com/customers/strikingly

> As an international website building platform, obtaining an ICP license for China is very important to our users. The actual process of obtaining an ICP license though is quite complex. With Alibaba Cloud’s built-in and easy-to-follow ICP application process, it has helped with our user experience a lot.

Seems like it's killer feature is China ICP license made easy.

Does anyone have an explanation for why China is so successful? We have it pounded into our heads that we need globalization in the form of open markets with no protectionism for US companies and immigration, yet china almost completely locks out foreign businesses and takes next to no immigrants and is obviously a quickly growing global superpower.

> We have it pounded into our heads that we need globalization in the form of open markets with no protectionism

Because that is false. It works for developed markets with existing strong industries. Dieter Frisch - former Director General for Development at the European Commission says in his La politique de développement de l'Union européenne [1], on page 38 of the PDF:

"En effet, on ne connaît historiquement aucun cas où un pays au stade précoce de son évolution économique se serait développé via son ouverture à la concurrence internationale. Le développement s’est toujours amorcé au gré d’une certaine protection qu’on a pu diminuer au fur et à mesure que l’économie s’était suffisamment fortifiée pour affronter la concurrence extérieure. Mais un tel processus s’étend sur de longues années, sans parler du préalable que constituent, dans le cas des ACP, la mise en place et le fonctionnement de structures régionales."

Essentially, it means that there are no cases of a country that developed through opening its economy to international competition. It always required protectionism which reduces gradually overtime as it is able to grow and absorb and compete with external competition. Haven't you noticed third world countries that attempt to follow America's advice never escape the poverty trap? What works for America does not imply it'll work for other countries.

[1] http://ecdpm.org/wp-content/uploads/PMR-15-Politique-Develop...

Excuse my French, but bullshit.

Consider Thailand and Malaysia, two neighbouring countries in SE Asia. In Thailand, they opened up markets to car manufacturers and suppliers, with the result that Thailand is now one of Asia's largest car manufacturing hubs. In Malaysia, they imposed protectionist barriers and tried to build their own cars. Ever heard of Proton or Perodua? No? There's a reason you haven't -- they're terrible.

Per Wikipedia [1] the successful Thai auto industry is a perfect example of using protective tarrifs to develop one's economy. They slapped huge tarrifs on imports, then shifted to taxing fully-assembled imports to grow their parts manufacturing, then gradually eased restrictions after they'd been able to develop a superior domestic parts manufacturing industry.

Protective taxes. Domestic growth. Expertise. Drop taxes and start telling everyone else how great free trade is.

It's a pretty winning playbook.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Thail...

This is exactly the playbook my country S. Korea used, enabling the "miracle on the Han". The "free trade" mantra is bullshit, it is literally kicking away the ladder that every developed nation climbed to get to the top.


As languages change over time, so has the meaning of "literally" to actually also mean "virtually"[0]

[0]: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/literally

Thanks for the correction, I hate getting into a habit of misusing words!

Or "essentially".

This is what Brazil does and it is definitely not winning.

It was definitely working for a good part of the time. Mismanagement in other areas does not imply the recession was caused by protectionism. Actually, there are several different reasons for the Brazilian recession, yet none of them has anything to do with a "closed" market.


When arguing something works you can't just ignore how often it doesn't. Development Economics is not so simple.

> Excuse my French, but bullshit.

It isn't bullshit. It is truth.

> In Thailand, they opened up markets to car manufacturers and suppliers, with the result that Thailand is now one of Asia's largest car manufacturing hubs.

But thai car companies aren't building the cars. They are just building cars for foreigners.

> In Malaysia, they imposed protectionist barriers and tried to build their own cars. Ever heard of Proton or Perodua? No? There's a reason you haven't -- they're terrible.

Can you name a thai car company?

"According to Paul Bairoch, since the end of the 18th century, the United States has been "the homeland and bastion of modern protectionism". In fact, the United States never adhered to free trade until 1945. "


The US was protectionist. Korea, Japan are protectionist. Russia is protectionist. And even much of europe is/was protectionist.

You need protectionism to develop your own companies/industries. Otherwise, you become just a supplier for a company.

The difference between thailand and malaysia is that malaysia want their own "Ford/Toyota/etc". Thailand just wants to be a low-end supplier on the bottom of the supply chain.

And I've never heard of any Thai auto manufacturers either. Yet S. Korea, another SE Asian country which went full on gov't interventionist/protectionist from the 60s through the 80s, is home to Samsung and Hyundai etc. These conglomerates would never have survived in direct competition, nascent industries require protectionism until they can compete. Completely "free trade" means each country focuses on industries where they have comparative advantage--S. Korea would still be weaving linen.

> . Yet S. Korea, another SE Asian country

S. Korea is not a SE Asian country...

Well it is in the South East of Asia. Nation groupings aren't exactly scientific taxonomies.

A better comparison: S. Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam all started with sub $200 GDP/capita in 1960. As of last year, S. Korea's has exploded to ~27k, while Thailand and others are below $6k.

> Well it is in the South East of Asia.

No. It is in the NORTHEAST of asia.

"In common usage, the term Northeast Asia typically refers to a region including China.[2][3] In this sense, the core countries constituting Northeast Asia are China, Japan, North Korea, and South Korea."



If you don't even know simple things like geography and locations of major nations, why are you even talking about economics?

> Nation groupings aren't exactly scientific taxonomies.

We aren't talking nation groupings. We are talking GEOGRAPHY. NORTH/SOUTH/EAST/WEST.

If you are wondering why the downvotes, might check the rules on civil discourse here on HN.

Malaysia is due to protectionism gone too far, rather than opening up gradually.

Exactly. You can't industrialize a country without protection. Just think how USA, Germany, Japan, South Korea accomplished it.

When the IMF and others advice against it, it's because they are not thinking in the welfare of the country in question in the first place.

The other side of the coin is that it's very difficult (or inefficient) to develop a country without access to knowledge and technology from outside, so you need foreign currency.

In order to get foreign currency, you need to sell something or investment from outside that bring what is necessary, but you need a way for the benefits to stay in the country. Navigating this dichotomy is something that the Chinese are doing very well.

Aren't the Chinese essentially just playing on foreign greed for access to their domestic market, in an era of saturation in most of the rest of the world?

They've been dangling the "access" carrot on a stick in front of myopic shareholders and corporate management for 30 years, without ever delivering.

It's great if they want to grow their internal economy. But call a duck a duck: it's done at the expense of freedom for anyone who chooses to engage.

"Aren't the Chinese essentially just playing on foreign greed"

Sure they are.

I'm not an expert but my perception is that China is using two carrots: cheap labour and big markets.

If you are foreign capital, in order to profit you need to create a "mix enterprise" with local capital. The result is that they get the know-how and knowledge and they diminish the chance of relocation to cheaper places.

When they sell their products abroad, they also get foreign currency that allow them to import technology and expertise.

That is very well done.

If you think this is morally wrong (even if every developed country did it), considered the following:

"according to the World Bank, more than 500 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty as China’s poverty rate fell from 88 percent in 1981 to 6.5 percent in 2012" (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_China)

500 million people. That justify a little trickery I think.

Compare that to the morality of people in IMF and other institutions that advice poor countries (in collusion with corrupt local authorities) to open totally their markets.

Seems like the allure of cheap labor is fading http://fortune.com/2016/12/22/us-china-manufacturing-costs-i...

I don't think it's morally wrong. I think it's great for China (and the Chinese people, government support aside).

That said, they, like Britain and the US before them, deserve to be called on the discrepancy between what they say and what they do.

@RobertoG, do you have some book to recommend about what you said "You can't industrialize a country without protection."

I don't like the protecting laws of my country, avoiding cheaper and better products coming here. I would like to understand more about this, I hope I am wrong disliking this.

It didn't even work for the USA! We built our power on conquest, slavery, and industrial piracy. Don't know much about protectionism, but even without it, that seems like plenty.

Pre-WWII, the US absolutely taxed the hell out of foreign imports to protect northern industry. It only switched to a free-trade policy after the war wiped out most of Europe's industrial capacity.


Yeah, one of the arguments I heard to why India couldn't accomplish any rapid economic development was their lack of protectionism until recent years, then again protectionism alone is not enough.

I live in Brazil and we have lots of protectionism. It's really interesting your comment, it changed some of my beliefs.

To add a thought, invitations to foreign companies and investments can drown out local cultures with foreign personalities. This can be detrimental to what makes the country special and reduces the purpose of why they should ever prosper.

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning. What is that purpose?

I though it was so the people of the country have better lives.

I believe parent meant "why they would prosper".

Essentially: if you turn your country into {other country, except with cheaper labor}, then you kill the uniqueness of your national identity. Which is one of the biggest assets you ultimately have in international trade, if all countries were economically alike.

Thanks for the correction and elaboration. I could not have done it myself.

You say "that is false", but all you have is a quote in French, and a link to a paper in French that most of us can't read. Can you make your case in a more accessible way?

We shouldn't be surprised that most emerging economies have gone from high protectionism to low because they started from a position with high protectionism, and lowered it under advice and pressure from the first world--with very good results. Meanwhile, many countries in South America and Africa are doing things the protectionist way, with very poor results.

French is not particularly inaccessible; nowadays particularly I find Google Translate always at least gives the gist of the meaning. Here's my translation, made by taking Google's and retranslating the bits it took liberties with to be a bit more literal. (Note that I have very little knowledge of French, but this translation was relatively straightforward.)

> In effect, one cannot historically find a single case where a country at an early stage of its economic development would have developed through its opening to international competition. Development has always been attracted [lit. "baited to consent"] with a certain degree of protection that has been diminished as the economy has strengthened sufficiently to face external competition. But such a process extends over many years, not to mention the prerequisite which consists, in the case of the ACP [I believe this is the "États d'Afrique, Caraïbes et Pacifique", parties to the Cotonou Agreement], of the putting in place and operation of regional structures.

IMHO, quote the authentic language and a translation is the best you can do.

FWIW, I actually less trust a translated version from main stream media outlets, which 1) unlikely to report this type of narrative; 2) highly likely to cut out of context and interpret creatively.

I could ask the reverse: "why isn't China more successful?"

It's such a complicated issue that you could argue almost anything. I think any discussion must acknowledge Hong Kong, however, as an important data point.

My opinion is that the Communist party, even despite its "GDP obsession" [1], has gotten in the way more than anything.

As an (admittedly, very rough) estimate, if you take Hong Kong's GDP per person and multiply it by China's population, you get $58 trillion.

[1] https://www.economist.com/news/china/21689628-chinas-obsessi...

"why isn't China more successful?"

Compared to what? to a contra-factual or to a real country?

Because 500 million people out of extreme poverty sounds pretty successfully to me. Specially if we compare it to any other country following more "open" strategies.

Compared to South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore or Hong Kong, which started just as poor as mainland China 60 years ago but leapt way ahead. And if the response is that China faced more difficulty due to the larger population, then surely the best approach would have been to split it up into multiple smaller countries?

I don't even know how to address such a naive argument. Split the country into pieces? It doesn't take a political scientist to see how impractical this is. I didn't realize economic growth became a goal of such paramount importance to the government, that it should consider willingly breaking itself apart to achieve it.

Just one counterargument I can see - China floundered economically under Mao, and only in the late 70s did real economic reform under Deng Xiaoping happen. An effective timeframe of <40 years, not 60-70. I'm sure other Asian countries experienced poor leadership at times, but to this degree? To stagnate as heavily as China did under Mao?

Lastly, size definitely matters, in terms of both geography and population. Even today a huge number of the population is dispersed across the rural regions. How can economic prosperity reach them? Much easier in other Asian countries for growth to accumulate in centralized economic centers and start improving the welfares of the population at large.

Well, the divergence of China and Taiwan is a natural comparison.

The argument for trade hinges on competitive advantage. Each country should produce what it is most efficient at producing based on its resources.

In this way China has indeed rode the wave of globalization because its bountiful cheap labor made it suited to manufacturing small goods for richer economies.

The capital accumulated through these activities were reinvested so that Chinese companies could move into more value added industries like electronics, automobiles, aerospace, and services, which is possible because China has a deep well of human capital (i.e. people) who have a strong work ethic and are eager to learn new skills.

Moreover, because China has both a gigantic internal market and vast human resources, it's possible that Chinese suppliers can have a competitive advantage in virtually every industry, making the benefits of external trade less obvious. (This was China's attitude towards Europeans during colonial times too - that trade was unnecessary because they had nothing of value to China).

Or if Chinese suppliers currently don't have a competitive advantage in terms of price or quality, the government can use protectionist policies to shield those industries until they do have an advantage.

You might say that China has played all the right cards in the game of globalization. Donald Trump had been saying it for a long time.

> who have a strong work ethic and are eager to learn new skills.

As opposed to the rest? :)

Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism


Two major factors of China's apparent success are cheap labor and creative reporting.

The country's problems, aka the price paid for the industrial success, are a bit less prominently seen. Western countries faced the same problems (pollution, bad work conditions, etc) at the time of their first industrial revolutions, but by now are totally unwilling to pay such a price any more.

IMO this is because China is still a (massive) developing economy with large swaths of undeveloped resources and untapped labor.

We need globalization for the larger markets and the exchange of goods from other countries that have a comparative advantage. China has one of the largest markets within its own borders so it can afford to be protectionist. (this will quickly change)

Also to mention, the biggest bottleneck to US economic growth during the Ford era was was the lack of workers which is why opening our doors to crowded Europe gave us a boost.

China on the other hand still has plenty of workers to fill its mills.

> Also to mention, the biggest bottleneck to US economic growth during the Ford era was was the lack of workers which is why opening our doors to crowded Europe gave us a boost.

Actually during the Ford era, we went on an anti-immigration phase.


Assuming the Ford era began in 1900, we could say this was towards the end of the Ford era. I guess we had overdone on immigration and started regretting it.

> Assuming the Ford era began in 1900

Why should we "assume"? By Ford era, I'm assuming you meant his introduction of assembly line and mass production right? That started in 1913.

> we could say this was towards the end of the Ford era.

Can we? You say ford era. What time period are you referring to? Because from 1900 to 1924, the US was highly anti-immigrant.

> I guess we had overdone on immigration and started regretting it.

I guess? We've always been anti-immigrant as a nation. There really wasn't a time when immigrants were welcome in the US.

China's GDP per capita is still somewhere between #70 and #80 in the world[1]. It just happens to be a big country with lots of people.

If the US or most other western countries had same number of people is China, they would be doing much better. Also to go out on a limb a bit, you could probably draw a graph which shows a correlation between China relaxing its protectionism and its GDP increasing at a faster rate as a result.


It seems to me that hypothetical graph would be one of GDP increasing and, as a consequence, relaxing protectionism in selected sectors.

If you don't have a development plan, capital just create bubbles and then left the country in search of bigger profits. What is important is the creation of infrastructure and knowledge in the country that will work for its citizens. I don't know why this is a proposition so disputed. It seems that having a plan is always good except if we talk about economy.

Almost all the increment in the world reduction of poverty are due to China, but it's sold to us as a consequence of less protectionism.

Maybe, at the end of the day, what make China successful is that is too big to be bullied.

> We have it pounded into our heads that we need globalization in the form of open markets with no protectionism for US companies and immigration

That's because we went through a neoliberal shift after ww2. Prior to ww2, we were leaders of protectionism.

"According to Paul Bairoch, since the end of the 18th century, the United States has been "the homeland and bastion of modern protectionism". In fact, the United States never adhered to free trade until 1945."


We needed protectionism in order to protect our much younger companies/industries so that they can develop and grow and compete against more established british/european companies.

> yet china almost completely locks out foreign businesses and takes next to no immigrants and is obviously a quickly growing global superpower.

They need protectionism in order for their own companies or industries to develop. Otherwise, western corporations would just flood in and own the chinese market.

The problem is when chinese industries mature and their own markets get saturated, they are going to be in the same situation as the US/West. They are going to want to open up markets a round the world to sell their goods to and invest their excess capital.

I believe China's strategy is to allow foreign business to operate to a certain extent to provide a competitive impetus to their local favored companies. Basically I think their strategy is, inside China the foreign company will be allowed to have a market share of 20% to 50%, if it exceeds that they will create obstacles, as their own preferred (i.e. Chinese controlled) companies figure out how to compete.

Once it is competitive they will subsidize it (via. redistribution from financial repression of lower & middle class individuals to below market financing of businesses, and compliant regulation i.e. no unions, lax pollution) to give it an advantage to gain market share globally.

Regarding immigration, they already have a huge labor supply and if they need more I think they will prefer to do it by exporting their political and managerial apparatus, rather than importing bodies. For example their investments in Africa, and Australia: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/world/australia/china-pol... .

Yes, 1 billion people.

Off topic, but I like how the rounding error in your statement is more than the population of the US.

I'm curious, I'm a bit ignorant but what kind of novel things has china produced?

Has there ever been a huge advance in either software or hardware where the western world copied China? A brand new amazing programming language, a world changing battery technology, a cure for a big disease, etc?

I've seen a few interesting CS papers, but I don't keep up to much. As far as I can tell, all the biggest advancements are being done by companies here.

China is quite impressive in how they keep up in their own little bubble with their 1B people, but it's one thing to reimplement Google/Youtube, it's another thing to create new world changing technologies.

Recently? Lots of research, of course. The big recent medical one would probably be artemisinin, an important malaria drug. In terms of novel consumer products, I think the major one is the e-cigarette.

The US has never had or been a free market. "Free trade" is propaganda used to forcefully open foreign markets to US businesses looking for further growth.

Apparently it's US government involvement that caused companies like Google to be so successful.

This a false equivalence. The internet was designed from ground up to be borderless and untrammeled. Free trade was an initiative to tear down barriers around trade. The US government never had to request any other government to link up to the internet which is why their involvement in Google was not necessary.

Otoh, if you look at an state visit, every head of state brings along a trade delegation whose goal is to ease trade.

I don't think your comment is sincere. Looks like you've already made up your mind.

Gee, I wonder why a country with notoriously tight control of information would help funnel business to a single domestic cloud infrastructure provider...

Indeed, that would have been a killer feature for my employer a year ago.

Don't forget, however, that the ICP license might just be the START of the Chinese business license gauntlet! If you do business other than basically just serving content, assume there's other licenses that need acquiring. Always get local help with this.

As often in China, the killer feature will probably be that the Chinese government is going to make it even harder for all the companies except their own to get a license.

Shhhhh! You'll upset the brilliant Ivy League economists talking about how great free trade is.

So does Microsoft, but the QoS there is lower.

Aliyun - send paper A, B, C to us and a payment, the license comes to office in 2 weeks

Chinese Azure - send money to us

A day after, send paper A there, paper B there, C there

A week after - ChiComs come to the office questioning you why you omitted that thing in this paper, and give you nice time

A few weeks later you get your papers. I do not see what they call a service there.

It's worth noting that, no matter where you go, the ICP licensing process is political.

We've had trouble with ours and essentially nobody has answers. The requirements can change without warning and no companies inside or outside of China have a surefire way to get, keep, and use an ICP license.

I have been missing a feature from Alibaba Cloud that AWS does not provide and there seems no easy replacement: Their Object Storage Service (OSS) provides an endpoint for transforming images (resizing/thumbnailing, compressing etc). Putting it behind a CDN (which is also integrated in the feature), this solves virtually all the image processing requirements ever needed in a common web or mobile application. https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/44687.htm?spm=a...

I use a (not so well known) feature with Google AppEngine - Images API. It's pretty awesome as well. Works really well for web applications with basic image manipulation requirements.


The best part is, you call your image with specific parameters that'll do transformations on the fly. For example,

    <image url>/image.jpg?s=120
will return a 120px image. Appending -c will give you a cropped version, etc.

Reminds me of something similar I did with videos couple of years back - http://www.transcode.io/

Glad that you find it useful. I'd like to point out that lambda+s3 notification solution is asynchronous, while this OSS feature does transformation synchronously and can be applied to any objects (not just the new ones which could trigger functions), which is pretty awesome.

I work for Alibaba Cloud. Drop me an email (in my profile) if you're interested in the opportunities. Yes, we have office in Seattle (Bellevue).

I currently live in Bellevue, not looking for a job right now but where is the Alibaba Cloud office? Downtown? Factoria near T-Mobile? Crossroads near MS campus?

Do you guys take on remote workers ?

Probably not at this time. There are some openings in Bay area as well: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/alibaba-group-jobs-san-mateo-c...

So not in Seattle.

It's quite common to include the nearest major city, especially when your city is more or less a suburb of it. People outside the Puget Sound aren't going to know where Bellevue is. Redmond is probably the only other well known city in the sound, because of Microsoft.

It's why EA has an office in Vancouver/Burnaby (http://www2.ea.com/locations/vancouver), or Microsoft has an office in Tel Aviv/Ra'anana (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mtc/locations/telaviv.aspx) not to mention another one in Tel Aviv/Herzliya, etc.

Please don't trust any Chinese company will protect your data, because even my company will sale or buy some personal data, we will gather as much data as we can.

> even my company will sale or buy some personal data, we will gather as much data as we can.

What does this even mean? What is the subtext here? Because your company (which one?) is regarded as high status (higher than Alibaba?) / serious about data protection (but then you say it sells personal data?) ?

The practice of your company has no bearing of the practice of Alibaba. Alibaba could be better, Alibaba could also be worse.

Disclosure: I'm a Chinese working oversea and am genuinely interested in reacquaint myself with the business practice in China.

How is this limited to China?

Hmm. If it's something you despise, then why do you still work for them?

Hey that's not cool. How can you just disqualify a company that way just because they are Chinese? Alibaba is an excellent company with a lot of integrity.

Wener seems to be Chinese and working for a Chinese company [1]. They didn't state their reasons for not trusting Alibaba clearly, but that doesn't mean they're speaking from ignorance or prejudice.

I have no solid opinion myself, as I have no real knowledge either way.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12478652 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12478772

I think the trust deficit towards Chinese companies is due to their government. The government can just force their companies to hand over all data. They already do for their own citizens.

As opposed to the US...?

The US doesn't have a great firewall they force all data to go through which they utilize to weaponize javascript served from their own companies to international citizens. China does this. They used their great firewall to modify Baidu javascript to serve malware to international users to turn web browsers into a DDoS against github. All because github hosted projects that allowed Chinese citizens to read the uncensored web.

So, no, you can't trust anything hosted in mainland China. And, no, it's not the same as the US.

In the US, there is due process. Granted, that due process has been seriously eroded over the years in cases where the government can claim terrorism, but otherwise, it still takes a court order to force a company to comply with a government request for information.

Is due process that has been eroded over the years still due process? Where do we draw the line?

There's no need to draw a line; it's a risk continuum. With no due process at all, China is a higher risk option than three US.

*the US

Thanks autocorrect!

Right now, apparently at terrorism. And there is still a line, a court must approve it, might be a kangaroo court, but a judge is signing off on things.

Due process? Ha. Arrested in NYC way back when.

Rights read. NO. Telephone call.NO. Why was I just arrested? WHO KNOWS? I need my lawyer. HA. You can't hold me for over 24 hours for nothing?

You don't like it? Sue us. The NYC tax payers will end paying all the costs. HA HA HA

My experience with "Due Process" in the USA. At least I got out alive, in China may have been different.

Thank you NYC taxpayers for that $1000 settlement check after legal fees. :-)

So your rights were violated and you got legal recourse. Your complaint is?

That it shouldn't have happened in the first place? That our legal process is pretty damn broken? I have a similar story in NYC except I never sued so I didn't get a check. Just a massive waste of my time, energy and money and no recourse.

I think it is pretty clear that his complaint is that his rights were violated in the first place.

For which he received compensation.

the worrying fact is that the govt is whole and sole of the society, it can happen that one day they just kick out the company from mainland. Just like Google left china few years back, I don't think US is this bad. I hope not.

How's that different for any other country?

Due process, transparency, the option to overthrow the government. China has none of these. Hell, their government can ban the words "net neutrality" and "freedom" if they want to tomorrow, with no protest or recourse options. Very few countries have these kinds of constraints on companies.

I think we are also conditioned to not trust China. Certainly in the U.K. coverage about China is always negative, from dog stews to mafia-styled political stories. And of course the fact that China is gobbling so much and so fast ... Alibaba is apparently much bigger than Google and Amazon combined. Who's to say that Alibaba isn't the commercial face of the Chinese government? I think that's what we're really wary about.

Rational or irrational, we're definitely jealous, so whatever, that's high compliment for China. But China really is becoming a super, which means it's a threat to the old order. In South East Asia, it was once unthinkable to not see the US as an ally. Now this is shifting, for better or for worse cough South China Sea

You are just racist.

There's no AWS service that does this, but you can set something up using Lambda, API Gateway, and S3. There's an example repo at https://github.com/awslabs/serverless-image-resizing

It will be different: Aliyun gives you transcoding/resizing on every CDN endpoint (which they have many) vs resizing in DC

Could potentially do it with Lambda@Edge

If you can resize in under 50ms with less than 128mb RAM usages, maybe. With the current constraints JSON and text transforms are more feasible.

Alternatively, you can use a 3rd party image engine on AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B019YEIK7M?qid=1500045...

It should be a lot faster.

It's actually not that bad doing it in the browser these days with something like https://github.com/nodeca/pica

Saves upload time for large images at the very least

Until we get solid middle-out compression, surely the main problem with doing it in the browser was, is, and will continue to be bandwidth?

This also applies to resizing assists before upload from the client to the endpoint.

App Engine from Google's cloud has such feature -- image transformations and CDN for them with dynamic resizing and some easy transforms from URL parameters.

Here's a great blog post on how to use it. https://medium.com/google-cloud/uploading-resizing-and-servi...

How's the pricing compared to https://www.imgix.com/pricing or filepicker.io?

Imgix is unbelievable. The filters are useful, the support is great but above all the prices are excellent.

The prices are excellent if you have a small number of images read/processed many times over a month. If you have a large number of images touched only a few times a month, it's horrendously expensive.

For example I can thumbnail ~7M images in ~2 days on my dedicated machine (40/s) which costs me $60/mo to colocate. $60/mo gets me a paltry 20k images from Imgix (though admittedly I can process them multiple times for the same price, I don't need to).

Right. In my last two jobs, one of them had a relatively low volume of images (let's say, around 30k being requested per month) scaled to an arbitrary number of transformations, whilst the other had a high volume of images (millions) with a low number of transformations.

In both cases, the cost of doing it ourselves (using something like thumbor) would have been a few thousand per month. In the former example, imgix cost a few hundred, in the latter it would have cost in the hundreds of thousands.

imgix is the fastest of the services i've looked at (transformation time is roughly half what I got from cloudinary, and average response time is also about half), but its pricing model means it's completely unaffordable for certain types of product.

Out of curiosity, what CDN does deliver 7M for $60/mo with sourcing from your colocated server?

For me Imgix is primarily a cheap CDN with the benefit of unlimited sizes of each image depending on the device.

Disclosure, I am from imgix. If you start to exceed $500/month we can offer discounts and certainly when you are looking at millions of images then a flat rate at a lower level makes a lot more sense. 30 million unique images certainly should not be $90,000, that would be outrageous.

The $60 above doesn't include bandwidth from either my transit provider or Imgix, you can purchase a CDN separately.

Imgix is 8c/GB which is certainly competitive but by no means unique. CloudFront is only $0.005 more expensive on the higest tier and gets as low as $0.02 on the lowsest. A cheaper CDN like CDN77 starts at $0.049/GB and goes as low as $0.007/GB.

Cloudfront charges for requests and it can often be the biggest component of your bill.

CDN77 performance in terms of latency is not that great. If you are looking for a cheap CDN with good performance, buy edgecast from a reseller. The only problem with edgecast is that they charge a really high fee for SSL support for custom domains

Imgix is okay, support is terrible, and status page can stay green for 15minute when they are down (eg recent fastly issue). We stuck with them when image processing was slow due to capacity which the CEO eventually publically apologised for, but in new projects we will probably avoid them.

With support I've meant the answers I got from technical support and the timing with issues.

Yes the 15min made me angry too, as I needed to read about the Fastly fail on HN instead of the Imgix status page.

What would you use in your next project?

We used imgix on last project as a last line of defense against unoptimized images due to the timing constraints of the project. However on greenfield, we would build the image optimization into the build process (could be as simple as few imagemagick commands), and the save pipeline for CMS'ish part (content blocks, adding products etc..) and then just use a dumb CDN.

Imgix really annoyed me as they didnt bother replying about the status page fiasco, this is after we gave them a free-pass with their capacity planning which made us look like idiots recommending them (i.e images loading super slow). Not again, bad ethics.

Ah been there with the imagemagick in several companies, would never go that way again.

Wait people get annoyed at 15 minutes now? I honestly read your comment as if it was 15 hours at first and agreed but come on, 15 minutes is nothing unless you're paying for a five nines SLA.


Mate if their status page isn't saying anything and you're losing money pick up the damn phone rather than mashing F5 on a webpage.

"Please don't start a SaaS business" I was asking a question that just needed a quick answer to change my mind but you went with an insulting topping so that you could look smart. Classy.

I add my support as Imgix being a great service.

Or just use transloadit.com which has been providing that, and other processing features since 2009 :)

Disclosure: Transloadit founder

Why do you not have code samples in c#?

There's a community project in c# but we don't have an official sdk for it as we didn't have the expertise on the team and haven't gotten around to outsourcing this yet. Would you (or anyone reading this) be interested by any chance, and has the credentials (github account with relevant projects) shoot an email to kvz@transloadit.com : )

Only people with github projects can code a simple wrapper for you? Those bitbucket heathens.

There are other Saas services for that, like https://www.imgix.com/. Not sure if this plays well with S3 out of the box though

I am using Imgix for a personal photography site and it works great with S3. You point it to an S3 bucket, give it the access keys, and then use the URL they provide instead of the S3 bucket URL.

Using various query params, you can then control a bunch of transformations to the images that are applied on the fly when requested.

i use cloudinary for these same type of features over AWS. Their libraries and UX isn't always the best but their transformation features are out of this world good.

You could create a Lambda function to create and upload these transforms back to S3/CloudFront. Would definitely be a nice feature to get out of the box though.

I wrote a blog post about how to set this up on an Elastic Beanstalk instance. As well as uploading images directly to S3 rather than double handling them on your own backend. https://pickledsoftware.co.nz/jekyll/update/2017/02/14/Hosti...

There's always http://cloudinary.com/

Does it work for GIFs?

I've just launched https://www.gifsonic.com for resizing animated GIFs, and I'm still trying to figure out how useful it is...

Gif resizing is pretty hard. We've spent some pretty substantial effort in doing gif resizes for our infra.

Out of curiosity, what library is your saas backed by?

I'm using a mix of FFmpeg, Gifsicle, and Vips depending on the transformation that is being applied.

GIFs resized with FFmpeg will look great if everything is set up correctly, but if you need other effects it gets really tricky.

Imagemagick can resize gifs.

They look pretty bad, though.

You can use this on AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B019YEIK7M?qid=1500045...

It's really fast and can do image resize on the fly. They wrote the engine in C and Assembly. Should be way faster than ImageMagick.

Not only they provide real-time resizing on CDN, but many many many other things: hardware HTTPS acceleration (check their HTTP vs HTTPS latency,) per-file authentication, hardware Gzip, 'bouncer' for websocket connections. They used to provide free load balancing on the edge for APIs, but I can't find that service in the control panel anymore.

For an AWS equivalent, can deploy https://github.com/RealImage/concave on Lambda+API Gateway in the same region as the source images s3 bucket, and stick a Cloudfront distribution in front of it. Hit me up at sudhir.j@gmail.com if you need help.

Used in production at http://www.moviebuff.com and https://www.justickets.in if you want to see it in action.

Automattic's Photon does this, too. https://developer.wordpress.com/docs/photon/api/

try this: http://pageload.io - proxy that goes between your origin and cdn or users and optimizes content for you. per host pricing.

Another company named qiniu offers this feature

Our website and app are heavily replying on the image servers. https://www.ywart.com

Don't serve any javascript from within China to users outside of China. Remember when the Chinese government used the great firewall of China to modify Baidu analytics javascript passing through it to setup an international DDoS against github? Hosting your stuff in mainland China for consumption outside make you a party to that happening again in the future.

Why would it matter? Surely if the Chinese government was able to MITM the JS to do bad stuff, they could also MITM the HTML to serve Javascript even if you originally weren't?

So don't serve any content from China, is what I am hearing.

We'll, you can't host from mainland - big distinction, mainland HK is far more liberal and long let that be supported - without an ICP licence.

An ICP licence is issued according to mainland policy, requirements bot exclusive to including having legal entity/people and agreeing to be part of the Golden Shield which extends far from China's firewall but also personal information tracking, both online and offline.

I trust the chinese government less than western governments.

And I don't trust them much either but at least they answer to corporations if not the people.

They just let someone die in prison for fighting for human rights.

Very true. Heck, China could also modify images to take advantage of vulnerable libraries.

I feel like this is just another reason to use subresource integrity on your includes. If you are only pulling javascript and your HTML is served outside of China you can ensure the correctness of the response.

Doesn't the resource still need to be requested to perform the integrity check? If I recall correctly the script was being redirected to a github gist which is why it was effectively a DDOS on github... so yes sub-resource integrity is great but wouldn't protect against this type of attack since the requester was the target of the attack but rather the source...

This particular attack had China inserting a javascript reloader into Baidu's javascript file to hit the two github projects they didn't like to perpetrate the DDoS. So, it wasn't just a redirect.

Since then, Baidu has been serving most of their assets through https to prevent hijacking.

How confident are you that the Chinese government does not have the SSL keys for Baidu? Because I am 0% confident.

Worth pointing out that it was not GFW which performed the man-in-the-middle, it was a separate system: https://citizenlab.ca/2015/04/chinas-great-cannon/

This is why there needs to be a system where hashes for JS files can be securely installed in browsers for verification.

I want to see native support for content-level cryptographic signatures in browsers. I also want it to be able to use a local GPG keyring, so I can validate against my chosen web of trust. JavaScript programs are just that---programs. When I use my package manager, or when I download a package online, I have a signature to verify against---either automatically (former) or manually (latter); https does not solve that.

This is different than the CA system, which verifies the _server_, not the content being served. A compromised server or successful MitM allows an attacker to modify data undetected.

This is also different from subresource integrity---it's a step in the right direction, but that only helps with third-party resources being loaded, and it doesn't at all help with cryptographic signatures.

Having signatures also helps with the case of programs constantly being updated outside the users' control. JavaScript programs are almost always ephemeral---they load with a webpage, and disappear when you leave, barring certain caching. "Updates" aren't really updates---you are re-downloading the program every time. So, hashes will change, and without cryptographic signatures, you can't be sure whether the new hash should even be trusted.

As a separate benefit, this support would also be useful for authentication online and asserting one's identity on e.g. social media, especially decentralized/federated services.

It exists, is called SSL

It's https.

A concern is that if ever your product on this platform gets big, friction with the (often unpredictable) Chinese gov and policies will become a liability.

example : your product displays news. Some of these might considered not acceptable by the Chinese govt and cause you to get shut down or blocked

Any content hosted outside China is very slow for chinese users. So if you're serious about serving content in Mainland China, you will first need to obtain an ICP license. Only then you will be able to use the Mainland CDN and cloud instances.

And pretty much everything useful is blocked. We rolled out an update that broke our app for all of China, because cloudfront was blocked. That was a new one for me.

Having spent a painfully slow 10 hours in the airport in Beijing let me appreciate just how much of the Internet breaks when you block the biggest sites. Serve up jQuery through googleapis.com? Not in China, you don't. Hope it wasn't doing any heavy lifting for you.

> And pretty much everything useful is blocked

Anything useful for foreigners. Their policy is more about protectionism than censorship.

This is just plain wrong. CCP only cares about steal wealth from ppl and shut everyone that tell the truth. This: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO3pO3ykAUybrjv3RBbXEHw , and this: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/world/asia/liu-xiaobo-dea... , etc, etc. The truth and the political dissidents voices is what they really afraid of.

That is categorically false. Chinese communism is strongly influenced by nationalism and protectionism comes from that but make no mistake that their goal is censorship.

They could easily force foreign companies to operate under a strong censorship regime if that were their main goal. Facebook basically bends to the will of every market it operates in.

However they clearly prefer local startups and makes it generally difficult for foreign companies to purely exploit the Chinese market. Joint ventures are always required at the least.

Azure in Hong Kong is quite zippy. Even in the depths of inner-China. I was very impressed... and I'd rather host my stuff with Microsoft.

I doubt Alibaba would ever care about protecting your data.

Any company that cares about protecting your data can't operate in China.

Not Sure Agree

> Azure in Hong Kong

Sources tell me that the azure infrastructure there are not actually operated by microsoft, but by a subcontractor, and merely licenses the name from microsoft. I would be quite wary of assuming that microsoft policies apply there.

Correct. It's public knowledge that 21Vianet operates The DCs behind Azure in China.

Good to know!


My company will never trust any chinese company with anything especially our data.

Only Google and Amazon are safe, they don't show data even to FBI /s

I really never thought I’d be saying this but I think I trust Google and Amazon more with my data.

Why? What will Chinese government do to you that American government wont?

Give your data/source to a domestic competitor? Because they would absolutely do that.

Be less naive when it comes to China.

Yes, it's more likely in China because it's more likely to happen in a blatant way, especially between companies directly.

But don't kid yourselves that the US intelligence would never pass on trade secrets or confidential information to benefit American competitors. Especially if you consider that they've actually sabotaged foreign companies because of business relations to countries the US doesn't like.

FWIW: I would never put confidential information on Chinese infra. But as a non-American I'm only slightly less worried about doing the same with American infra. It's not so much about whether someone will access your confidential information, it's more about who they are.

You should probably take your own advice.

Airbus to sue over US-German spying row


Are you kidding? Spying to see if they're violating trade embargoes == Systemic, blatant IP theft from westerners--aided at all levels of the Chinese government and industries?

Heh, you're using a throw away account just to go full whataboutism on this comment thread. So brave.

Are Wumao into Hacker News now?

I might defend the wrong side here, but industrial espionage was a significant part of the NSA scandal. Of course the US agencies are going to give the data they get by siphoning the global internet traffic and by hacking foreign industries to their own domestic industries. And we know that Asia was highly targeted, especially Japan, but also China.

Sure, China might be more blatant about that and do it on a higher level, but the US lost all rights to be on the moral high ground with things like that. The US got zero protection for user data. They do read your personal mail and they listen and watch via your webcam silently into your home. Does not get much worse than that.

Can you give any example of where the US has been caught giving IP stolen from espionage, to a domestic business purely to give the business a better advantage? Where there the IP had no military or security value?

If they did this, which company benefited? Did all domestic companies in the same business get the same deal or only that one single lucky one?

In the 1990's the CIA was caught spying to attempt to improve the trade deal Hollywood got with France: http://articles.latimes.com/1995-10-11/news/mn-55816_1_cia-o...

In 2013 some Snowden papers showed how the CIA spied on the Brazilian oil company Petrobras: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/09/nsa-spying-bra...

The same papers included a 2009 proposal that the CIA move into industrial espionage: https://theintercept.com/2014/09/05/us-governments-plans-use.... The CIA says it was never acted on.

And there is the Airbus issues too (which were purely to benefit Boeing - there was no military or defense issues with that)

However, the official position is that the US spy agencies don't do industrial espionage: https://www.lawfareblog.com/why-did-doj-indict-chinese-milit...

One has to say their actions don't make this particularly clear though.

>Give your data/source to a domestic competitor? Because they would absolutely do that.

Are there known instances of this happening? How do you know they would "absolutely do that"?

Just look at their systemic counterfeit, ip theft problem. They can somehow keep a billion people in line and censored and behind a firewall and complacent, but stopping major counterfeit and up theft seems beyond their reach. (hint, it's not, they just don't care).

What IP theft? Are there instances where Chinese Patent Office failed to act against IP theft claims?

Obviously the FBI and the Chinese Government are equally untrustworthy. Who can truly say that one is worse than the other? /s

Depends where you live.

Chinese citizens shouldn’t trust American products too much and vice versa. At least your homeland will protect you and you know your people.

The US won't "protect Americans" if by that you mean "not violate their rights and abuse their data", but that's beside the point.

I'm neither Chinese nor American. While it's obvious why China is not trustworthy (i.e. rampant product piracy) the bar is not so high that it matters whether the Americans or the Chinese are abusing my customers' data as long as there's a third option. Granted, even when hosting locally it's known that American agencies might be able to access that data and it would be prudent to assume China (or Russia, seeing how they're the more trendy Big Bad these days) couldn't do the same. But at least I'm not wrapping everything up with a ribbon and leaving it at their doorstep.

>it's obvious why China is not trustworthy (i.e. rampant product piracy)

What kind of piracy? Patents and copyrights are managed and enforced at the state level.

Copyright is international[0], actually.

I'm less concerned about Chinese knock-offs sold locally but Chinese companies have a deserved reputation for trying to sell illegal knock-offs internationally with little regard for the IP they're violating in those countries.

Also China has a reputation for not just having companies copy successful designs but actively going out and exfiltrating information to clone them (e.g. companies producing parts in China for Western companies turning around and producing knock-offs of those parts themselves, sometimes even branding them identically).

Regardless of the case by case legality, it's obvious why this behavior is likely undesirable for most Western companies seeking a cloud provider rather than specifically a Chinese cloud provider.

[0]: Obvious caveat: it's not strictly international, but most countries have agreed on cooperating under the terms of the Berne Convention and the UCC. So for most intents and purposes as long as you're only dealing with signatory states, copyright is as international as laws can be without the UN literally being able to come in and put you in UN jail (which isn't really a thing either).

> At least your homeland will protect you and you know your people.

This holds neither for the USA nor china.

I don’t really see how that is true. Censorship means getting your own citizens in trouble so that doesn’t really work out and you only need turn on the news to see how the U.S. can poorly protect their citizens.

The Chinese gov’t is a mafia. Let’s not pretend otherwise. It’s citizens are kick ass and intelligent, under the grip of the FBI or Chinese govt? The two evils are incomparable

sources? Since they are all profit-driven companies

Meanwhile billions of dollars are traded in Alibaba stock through the Cayman Islands on the NYSE. Somehow that hasn't led to much trepidation.

I have a related concerns about customer protection, maybe someone knows about it and can tell me: the famous Chinese bike-sharing companies are now coming everywhere in US & Europe. How "dangerous" (at least privacy-wise) is it to use them (i.e. give them your contact and bank data)?

They are required by Chinese law to track you: http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/china-cyberspace...

I'd uninstall any chinese made app if you care about privacy

I signed up a couple of weeks ago to Mobike, and so far it's worked well. I've given them my credit card details, which should provide me with some protection. If I was really paranoid I'd use a prepaid card like my Monzo card.

At some point I'll look at what data it is sending out, and how often. Many people have Chinese apps on their phones as many utilities in the Play store originate there. If you watch where they're communicating to you can see that it is Beijing. Just as most apps talk to various servers in the US.

Or you end up competing with something booted up by someone powerful's kid. Operating in these systems is a totally different skill set from competing in international markets.

Yes, I forgot to mention that. If you're a foreign company and bringing some damaging competition to a Chinese local owned company, you better get ready for some trouble

Any cases to elaborate? I know one from U.S., when Huawei was going to enter US markets.

I actually work inside China in tech, it's not too bad if you're a foreigner serving mostly foreign companies who come into China.

Once you start dealing with larger local companies though the politics begins.

Or for example, there is any free text user input that could be subversive...

this is definitely a valid concern. decoupling automation from your cloud provider, moving it a layer up the stack, and leveraging only IaaS, can actually be quite helpful in these scenarios. this is an area where having a multicloud strategy, or minimally the ability to move between clouds at will, is essential.

I have that concern about AWS and other American hosting, too.

Don't forget there's also:

Tencent Cloud: https://www.qcloud.com/?lang=en Baidu Cloud (Chinese only): https://cloud.baidu.com/ Netease/163 Cloud (Chinese only): https://www.163yun.com/

I use Tencent Cloud for a small China-oriented SaaS. The SDK APIs are kind of a mess/lacking, but the service is otherwise pretty reliable and easy to use.

I'd be super concerned about using Baidu and Netease. If the marketing materials aren't translated into English, then it's a near certainty that support for English speaking customers will be subpar.

That said, I'm curious about demand/non-SaaS-oriented use of these computing platforms.

Alibaba Cloud doesn't have full support for English-speaking customers either. The billing interface is only in Chinese, and some of the core features are only available on their Chinese site (there are two separate logins with a nearly identical UI). There are also some issues that require a Chinese national with a verified identity to take care of.

You can get by with most things but I've found that you really need someone who can read Chinese to use it properly.

I would not recommend using any of the Chinese cloud services unless you need to reach the Chinese market.

And yes, there are all sorts of bureaucratic surprises that will make your blood boil.

What payment service do you use for subscriptions? I'm in Shanghai and nothing like Stripe (yet) here... without that infrastructure, it makes it tough.

My service is not subscription oriented, but I take Alipay and WeChat pay, which together probably account for >80% of potential customers. But you need a registered Chinese business entity.

Have you looked at Alipay[1]?

[1]: https://global.alipay.com/

Yeah of course, but they don't provide Stripe-like subscriptions (i.e., recurring payments). Ali just made a deal with Stripe, so maybe ultimately Stripe is the best bet.

Can you add ssl certs to Tcloud now? That used to be a pita.

They have a certificate management system where you can register for a free one from TrustAsia, or buy an expensive one from another authority like Symantec. I just got a free one.

You could just as easily bring your own or deploy a LetsEncrypt certificate to a bare machine though.

Forgive me, but why not just use Google Compute Engine in the Taiwan region? Can US citizens even signup and use Alibaba Cloud? I'm very skeptical about using a Chinese based cloud provider given the current world situation.

Also, back of the napkin math, but GCE is even cheaper.

  Alibaba Cloud ($79.00/mo)
    2 Core CPU
    8GB Memory
    80GB SSD

  Google Compute Engine - Taiwan Region ($69.81/mo)
    n1-standard-2 (2 vCPUs / 7.5 GB Memory)
    80 GB SSD disk

I have a SaaS product hosted in Singapore. We have complaints from our China clients about it being slow so we had to setup another production environment in China.

It's not about the price, it's about the Great Firewall of China.

Sounds like there is a market for a novel product so that to Chinese people your service is fast as if inside China, but your infrastructure is actually outside. Kind of like a bridge over the Great Firewall, but just for a specific company. How could that be done, and would that be legal in China?

The connection from the mainland to Taiwan is really bad. Also Alibaba has reasonable international connections into and out of China, in the HK region for example I have a ping of 40 and have been running my own VPN for some time.

At my work we tested various services for providing content to our users in China and we found that the most important factor was whether or not the content was hosted inside mainland China. If it has to traverse the Great Firewall it will be slow; if the source is within the border it at least has a chance at acceptable performance.

I believe that if you host it in Taiwan it would still have to go through the Chinese firewall if it were accessed in China.

Yeah that’s a different firewall :)

what actually made you to believe that GCE is accessible in China? are you assuming GFW is a fantasy?

What's new about this? Alibaba cloud has been around for 8 years, it's called Aliyun in China (literally Ali-cloud). They didn't build datacenters in 7 countries overnight.

Could anyone explain the sudden excitement about their service?

To be honest, I'd just never heard of this. I'm excited to hear they've got a Dubai datacenter because every now and again my company is asked about starting an instance of our app over there. I've done lots of searching for UAE based cloud hosting and somehow never came across Alibaba. I was resigned to just leasing some servers if we ever actually had to do this but it's great to know we've got another option.

They rebranded the international service.

Also $30/year for a cheap virtual server from a pretty major provider is nice. I'll probably pick one up just for some network testing purposes.

That cheap $30/year server turns to $200+ per year after the 1st. Go for vultr at $2.5/month. It has been good thus far.

I closed my VULTR account after getting this email from them

----- Dear Vultr Customer,

Including pending charges, your account is carrying a $5.94 balance.

In order to cover your current balance and your estimated monthly costs, our billing system will automatically deposit $275.00 from your payment method on file in 24 hours.

You were $5.94 in debt, so they decided to take $275? Bit extreme...

How could you carry a balance there anyway? Was considering using Vultr at one point.

I don't know either, I bought a vps, left it there for a year and kind of forgot about it

Saw the email and scrambled as fast as possible to contact their support and close all my accounts.

How much was the VPS you purchased?

Anyone looking for a cheap VPS should review this discussion:

Show HN: VPS Comparison – Automated tests to compare VPS by yourself | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14245538

Vultr has like half the specs and different locations if I recall correctly.

Maybe the $300 new user credit or $30/year SSD cloud server is new. Probably not too many people knew about these things even if they weren't. Always fun to play around with something different at low or no cost. I actually didn't see too much excitement in the comments!!!

30/year is just a promotion. After a year the price is almost 10x higher.


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