Unicom, the Chinese state-owned telecommunications company and mobile services provider, has opened a state-of-the-art data center in Hong Kong. This is the company’s first data center located outside of mainland China, helping to expand the company’s international presence as well as furthering Hong Kong’s status as a data center hub for the region.
The data center, known as the ICT Global Center, has been under construction since 2014 and is built over 41,000 square meters of land, networking over 3,000 servers. The ICT Global Center will provide support for Unicom’s network and provide the first step in the company’s plans for expanding its presence overseas. It will also offer high-speed networking and communications services to international clients to help them grow their business in the region.
China Unicom announced that it would build a network of internet data centers in March, as part of a plan to diversify the company’s income streams. Unicom faces falling revenue in traditional areas such as texting and voice calls due to competition from internet messaging and social network services. When complete, the entire data center network will comprise over 4 million servers, and a combined area of over 2 million square meters.
Data center statistics show a high concentration of data centers in Hong Kong, particularly when considering Hong Kong’s limited physical footprint. For example, there are currently 49 data centers available for co-location in Hong Kong, compared to only 24 in comparable Singapore and 5 in Taiwan. In 2015 the data center market in Hong Kong produced $616 million in revenue and is expected to grow to $1.39 billion by 2020.
Hong Kong is a natural choice for data centers for Chinese businesses and for international clients looking to gain a foothold in the Chinese market. As China’s Specialized Administrative Region, Hong Kong is connected to Chinese business and culture, while providing a more open and westernized option for international clients than mainland China. It is often referred to as the gateway to China, for businesses interested in gaining a foothold in the lucrative Chinese market.