Apple plots Hong Kong data centre, reports say

New facility is said to be in the New Territories, with construction due to start early next year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 4:16am

The 24-hour news cycle on Apple took a slightly different turn yesterday, as reports surfaced that the technology giant was looking to build a massive data centre in Hong Kong.

Apple, which is set to release its much-publicised iPhone 5 in nine markets from tomorrow, was said to have finalised the location of that facility in the New Territories, according to a source cited by specialist blog site 9to5Mac, which first reported the matter.

Construction is supposed to start in the first quarter next year and the centre will be operational by 2015. Apple's spokeswoman in Beijing had no comment.

A spokesman for the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, the agency that sets policies for information and communication technologies for the city, said it was not in a position to confirm or deny whether such an Apple project was in the works.

"We have received inquiries from many enterprises and data-centre operators about the prospect of setting up data centres in Hong Kong," the spokesman said. "We have provided information on Hong Kong's strengths as a location for data centres, the government's facilitation measures and the availability of possible sites."

It would be a huge new coup for Hong Kong should Apple's purported local data-centre project turn out to be true.

The city has been aggressively promoting its suitability to serve as a prime regional hub for the data centres of large multinational companies. In December, Google committed to invest US$300 million in a new data centre in Tseung Kwan O.

The rising adoption of Apple's free iCloud service may also be fuelling speculation about a new data centre being located in Asia, where the company's iPhone and iPad are much in demand and widely used.

The iCloud service provides all Apple device users with a digital hub on the internet to store, access, and sync their music, video and other data.