HK well positioned to become a world-class data center

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Corerain Technologies, a chip developer co-founded by a Hong Kong entrepreneur, benefited from Shenzhen’s policies and facilities when it set out to mass-produce its AI products. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong’s continuous efforts to build data centers lay a solid foundation for digital upgrading of its industries and development of the city’s innovation and technology sector.

In the 25 years since the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the international financial center has attracted many of the world’s largest multinational corporations to set up their regional headquarters and offices in the city, bringing with it a huge international data flow.

With the emergence of the digital economy as a new engine of the global economy, the application of digital technologies is becoming the future direction of innovative technology companies in Hong Kong, leading to an increase in the demand for data centers and the digital transformation of the city’s enterprises, said Lin Erwei, director and executive vice president of China Mobile International.

Growing demand for cloud computing, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things is expected to drive a booming data center industry in Hong Kong, Lin said.

In December, CMI launched the construction of its Fo Tan data center in Hong Kong, which will offer a full range of services to local and international customers, including 5G, cloud computing, AI and edge computing.

The new facility will span approximately 100,000 square meters and house more than 9,000 server cabinets, making it one of the largest data centers in Hong Kong. It will be a key part of the central data center cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

After the opening of the China Mobile Global Network Center in Tseung Kwan O in November 2014, the new Fo Tan Data Center will be the second data center built by CMI in Hong Kong.

“The two data centers, together with CMI’s international submarine cable resources in Hong Kong, the Guangdong-Hong Kong cross-border system and local 5G network resources, will enable China Mobile to build a new information system of “5G Computing network Smart Center” services in Hong Kong, laying a digital foundation for the development of Hong Kong’s digital intelligence and helping the development of Hong Kong’s digital economy,” Lin said.

The 14th National Five-Year Plan (2021-25) stresses the need to make Hong Kong an international innovation and technology hub, accelerate the construction of a national integrated system of large data centers, with the region of Grande Baie and other national hubs and nodes as prime locations for new data center clusters.

More land, power supply needed

Hong Kong has a number of favorable conditions for the development of the data center industry. The city is ranked among the top six global markets in terms of market size, fiber connectivity, cloud availability, low taxes, and development pipeline in Cushman & Cushman’s Global Data Center Market Comparison Report. Wakefield.

Hong Kong benefits from relatively low barriers to entry, a limited natural disasters ordinance and a mature data protection ordinance, said John Siu Leung-fai, managing director and head of project and business services. occupation for Cushman & Wakefield Hong Kong.

To promote Hong Kong as a base of excellence for data centers in the Asia-Pacific region, the Hong Kong SAR government has introduced advantageous measures, including the removal of partial change of use fees for industrial buildings. lease amendments for industrial land intended for data center use. , and the introduction of land sale terms for data center land to help the industry remove barriers to establishing data centers.

However, shortages of land availability and electricity supply remain two major challenges for the city.

“Operating a data center is a capital-intensive business. The initial investments, including land costs, construction costs, and facility installation costs, could be enormous.

“It also requires high electricity consumption to keep the facilities running, while the existing power grid cannot fully support such power consumption,” Siu said.

He said he thinks the city government should add electrical support and land supply to data center operators.

“With more land sites to be allocated specifically for data center use and made available for public tenders, land costs could be reduced, thereby reducing initial set-up costs for investors and operators. “, he said, suggesting that the government consider removing clauses such as public parking provisions suitable for other types of buildings.

To further promote the city as a world-class data center hub, Hong Kong should promote investment in fiber infrastructure, including underground fiber networks and international undersea cables and landing stations at fiber optics, added Siu.


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