Snowflake’s entry into Korea to intensify cloud service competition

Snowflake Inc., a US big data cloud provider, on Wednesday announced its entry into the South Korean market with the opening of a local office, intensifying competition among foreign firms, already playing big in the Asian country.

The Bozeman, Montana-based cloud service startup said it has named HyoungJun Anthony Kang as its country manager in Korea, responsible for driving Data Cloud adoption in the country and supporting Korean customers’ move toward a more data-driven society.

With more than two decades of experience in the data and analytics industry, including his stints as executives at Cloudera, Hortonworks and Teradata, Kang will be in charge of Snowflake’s business development, sales and partnership engagements in Korea.

“With Snowflake’s Data Cloud, local businesses will have access to an entire data network to help them unlock deeper data insights and more business value from their data,” the company said.

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Snowflake’s Korean customers include SK Inc., formerly SK C&C, the IT service unit of SK Group.

With some 4,900 clients around the world, the company offers cloud-based data warehousing and analytics service, generally termed “data warehouse-as-a-service.” In the Asia-Pacific region, it has offices in Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore in addition to Korea.

Founded in 2012 by Benoit Dageville, Thierry Cruanes and Marcin Zukowski, Snowflake listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2020, when Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, who avoids an IPO investment, made headlines by purchasing Snowflake’s shares on their initial offering.

Snowflake’s Data Cloud runs on all three major cloud platforms — Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform — and can accommodate massive, near-endless data repositories, according to the company.

According to US data analytics firm 7Park Data, Snowflake’s global market share rose to 16% in the second quarter, overtaking Google Cloud, from 8.1% in the first quarter.

Industry leader Amazon Web Services, more commonly known as AWS, saw its market share decline to 54% from 62% in the same period.

Snowflake, a cloud computing-based data warehousing company
Snowflake, a cloud computing-based data warehousing company

RIVALRY OR PARTNERSHIP

Analysts say Snowflake’s advance into the Korean market offers an opportunity to form business partnerships with local cloud service providers (CSP) as well as pose a threat to Korean rivals in efforts to secure clients.

In Korea, global cloud service providers such as AWS have already taken a greater share of the domestic serverless computing market, where home-grown companies are playing catch-up to meet growing demand.

Major Korean CSPs include portal giant Naver Corp.’s unit Naver Cloud, NHN Corp. and telecom company KT Corp.

The Korean companies largely provide infrastructure such as servers to cloud service operators, and Snowflake could be their potential client as it also offers in the US cloud services by leasing servers and systems from other tech companies.

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“Unlike platform operators such as AWS, Korean CSPs focus on offering infrastructure. So, forging a partnership with Snowflake could offer them an opportunity to expand their business,” said Jang Joon-hee, a researcher at National Information Society Agency.

A cloud service is any service available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s server as opposed to the company’s own on-premises server.

Cloud services are designed to provide easy, scalable access to applications, resources and services, and are fully managed by cloud service providers. Cloud computing is generally used to describe Internet data centers (IDCs).

The providers of data centers in the Asia Pacific region are among the fastest growing in the world.

Analysts expect foreign companies’ Korean market share to grow further with their aggressive expansion of IDCs to support cloud business in Korea.

Source: The Korea Economic Daily