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Snowflake Ramps Up APJ Expansion With Local Strategies and Gen AI Focus

Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, Snowflake recognizes the diverse cultural and business landscapes across the region, tailoring its strategies accordingly.

Snowflake, a leading data cloud company, is making substantial strides in the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) market, showcasing impressive growth and strategic adaptations to meet the diverse needs of local markets. In a recent press conference, Jon Robertson, who leads the APJ business, and Natalie Mead, VP for Sales Engineering, shared insights into the company’s journey and future plans.

With the Asia/Pacific overall public cloud services (PCS) market projected to increase at a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5%, from US$53.4 billion in 2021 to reach US$153.6 billion in 2026, the region represents a massive opportunity for cloud vendors. However, the region’s cultural, regulatory, and business landscape diversity presents unique challenges. Failure to adapt could mean missing out on this lucrative market.

Recognizing these complexities, Snowflake has adopted a decentralized approach that allows local teams to take the lead. “We have a very country-focused model,” says Jon Robertson. “Every market’s got a team of local people that know how to do it, and APJ’s job is to get them what they need, to influence the product roadmap so it suits the market demand, to go heavy on partners in this market, go direct in this market.”

Natalie Mead echoed this sentiment, stating, “The people on the ground tell us what to do. I feel like I work for them more than the other way around.”

“The technology solves the same problems for all industries and all customers,” Robertson explained. “Some of the lingo is different, the use cases are a little bit different, the software you’re using or building is different, but essentially what we do is the same for everybody. And so the way you go at the market is different, but what we’re selling is basically the same.”

Reflecting on the rapid expansion in Japan, Robertson noted, “We were a 10-person company and now we’re a 200-person company in Tokyo.” This growth trajectory is mirrored across other regions in APJ. “When I joined, we were primarily focused on English-speaking countries. We had maybe 75-80 people in Australia, a small team of five to ten in Singapore, and about 10-11 in Tokyo. Now, we’ve grown to about 1,000 people, a tenfold increase in just three and a half years,” he told AIM Media House.

While Snowflake is empowering local teams across the region, India represents a particularly important market. The company has made India one of its major global priorities under the internal initiative “Power Up India.”

“We’re really focused on India. This year, it’s become one of our major global priorities. We have this internal thing we call Power Up India, which is to really focus on the market, get the executives over there,” Robertson told AIM Media House.

To drive growth in the diverse Indian market, Snowflake has hired a dedicated General Manager for India, Vijayant, who has deep enterprise experience in the country from his previous role at Microsoft. “Vijayant, who started with us three months ago…he came from Microsoft where he was very much an enterprise leader, primarily in the financial services market. So he’s brought a new kind of approach to the market, I’d say a new level of enterprise readiness,” Robertson explained.

Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, Snowflake recognizes the diverse cultural and business landscapes across the region, tailoring its strategies accordingly. For instance, in South Korea, Snowflake engages in extensive proof-of-concept (POC) pilots with customers, which can last over a month, as Mead highlighted. “In Korea, every engagement has a POC. And it’s not just, oh, here we’re gonna do 10 minutes, you know, like in Australia or sometimes in Japan, a POC might be like a week. Well, in Korea, it’s a very different market in that your POC is actually like a full pilot.”

One area where Snowflake is seeing high demand across Asia is generative AI and model training capabilities. As Mead noted, “With the announcement of trails, the idea of that is really interesting. That’s just observability to see, oh could I, through budgets or through the Snowflake Performance Index, how do we see how we’re saving more money?”

Robertson highlighted the paradigm shift, stating, “The interesting paradigm is now with all of the announcements we’ve made around model training, Cortex, and our container services, access to GPU, we’re kind of in this shift now where Japan and Australia are moving very fast and could not wait to have all these announcements.”

While still in private preview, Snowflake is already working with customers on use cases involving generative AI, reflecting the region’s appetite for these cutting-edge technologies.

The generative AI market is poised to explode, growing to $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years from a market size of just $40 billion in 2022, according to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence (BI). 

Growth could expand at a CAGR of 42%, driven by training infrastructure in the near term and gradually shifting to inference devices for large language models (LLMs), digital ads, and specialized software and services in the medium to long term, BI’s research finds.

Snowflake reported product revenue of $738 million in its latest quarter, up 33% from a year earlier, with a net revenue retention rate of 131%. Snowflake’s impressive growth and strategic adaptation in the APJ market underscore their commitment to understanding and meeting the unique needs of diverse local markets while leveraging cutting-edge technologies like generative AI to drive innovation and growth.

Picture of Mansi Singh
Mansi Singh
Mansi's interest centers around use of Gen AI in enhancing daily lives and she is dedicated to exploring the latest trends and tools in AI.
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