Google's cloud chief says US-China trade war has not affected sales growth

Key Points
  • Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in a CNBC interview the cloud business is seeing "enormous growth around the world."
  • "Our growth has not been affected by the trade war," he said.
  • Kurian said the cloud business is "seeing the results" of investments in its sales team. 
Google Cloud CEO: We have no ambition to be a bank
Google Cloud CEO: We have no ambition to be a bank

The trade war between the U.S. and China hasn't had an effect on Google's fast-growing cloud business, according to Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.

In a CNBC interview at the Sibos financial services conference in London Thursday, Kurian said the cloud business is seeing "enormous growth around the world," adding it has "not been affected by the trade war."

Kurian pointed to Google Cloud's "large presence" in Hong Kong and Taiwan and didn't rule out further expansion into China's cloud market.

"We continue to monitor the demand for our technology from Chinese customers," he said.

Cloud services in China are currently dominated by Chinese tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent. Asked whether he sees competition from those local players, Kurian replied, "we worry about everybody."

Google Cloud's biggest competition still comes from U.S. companies. Amazon's AWS is the worldwide leader in cloud services with 33% market share, followed by Microsoft's Azure with 16% share, according to July data from Synergy Research Group. Google, meanwhile, captured 8% of the public cloud services market.

Kurian has prioritized growing Google Cloud's sales team as part of his effort to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft. He's also led a few acquisitions in recent months. In June, Google Cloud bought Looker for $2.6 billion. It also bought another Elastifile for an undisclosed amount in July.

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"We've hugely expanded all of the elements of our customer-facing front. Sales, technical people, customer service, even our business practice and legal team," he said. "We're seeing the results of that."

Kurian joined Google Cloud in 2018 after a 22-year career at Oracle. He replaced Diane Greene, the co-founder of VMware, who struggled to make Google's cloud business a serious competitor with Amazon and Microsoft.

In July, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the company's cloud business had reached $8 billion in annualized revenues. Alphabet, Google's parent company, does not specifically break out cloud sales in its earnings report, but Pichai said in 2018 the segment had reached $1 billion in quarterly revenues.

— CNBC's Jordan Novet contributed to this report