AMAZON.COM Inc is expanding its presence in the emerging tech hub of Cape Town, upping the ante in its regional battle with cloud computing rival Microsoft Corp.

Amazon will be the sole tenant in a new, modern eight-story  office building that's  nearing completion in the South African city, multiple sources familiar with the project told Reuters.

The company is advertising dozens of jobs in Cape Town, which played a key role in the early development of its Amazon Web Services [AWS] cloud-computing business.

The adverts include one for a software development engineer that says Amazon is assembling a team for a "green-field project" dealing with machine learning, big data analysis and cloud computing, which are among the fastest growing areas in the technology industry.

The company's  expansion  shows how  fierce competition in the  cloud business and rising demand for  computing power  are  driving activity  even in relatively underdeveloped corners of the  technology universe.

AWS is the  global leader  in cloud computing with 32 percent of the market, versus  16 percent for second-placed  Microsoft in the first quarter of 2018, according to research firm Canalys. Microsoft has been growing faster.

The global cloud, infrastructure services market was worth nearly $55 billion in 2017 and is expected to exceed $155 billion by 2020, Canalys said.

AWS accounted for 73 percent of Amazon's $1.9 billion operating profit in the first quarter, but just  11 percent of its revenue.

Amazon's new Cape Town building is due for completion in August, according to a source familiar with the matter. It sits near an existing Amazon technical center and customer support operation.

Amazon did not offer details about the new building in Cape Town, or what its functions might be.

"As more South African customers and partners continue to choose  AWS  as their cloud provider we continue to hire more staff into our offices  in Cape Town and Johannesburg," Geoff Brown, AWS  Sub-Saharan  Africa  regional manager, told Reuters in a statement. [Agencies].


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