Apple building yet another data centre, this time in China

12 Jul 2017

Apple. Image: MichaelJayBerlin/Shutterstock

Apple’s primary business at the moment appears to be building data centres, with China the latest country chosen by the tech giant.

Apple may well have planned this for some time now, but its decision to build a data centre in China comes suspiciously soon after the country passed strict new legislation.

Decided last month, the country now requires tech companies to host data from Chinese users on Chinese soil.

Future Human

So, the rumoured $1bn investment Apple is making – some of which is allocated to the facility – is beginning to make more sense.

China in its hand

Apple has been investing more and more in China as it bids to tap into a major market, one where Android is truly king.

Last year, for example, Apple revealed plans for a multi-year investment of $45m in a new R&D hub in Beijing, aiming to employ up to 500 people. The facility is located in Haidian District, Beijing, at the Zhongguancun Science and Technology Zone. This area is also home to the Chinese R&D centres for tech giants such as AMD, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Oracle and Sony.

The new data centre, meanwhile, will be located in the southern province of Guizhou with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry (GCBD), according to Reuters.

“The addition of this data centre will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations,” Apple said.

“These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we’re partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud.”

International expansion

Apple’s data centre activities have been motoring along in recent years, months and even days.

On Monday (10 July), for example, the Tim Cook-led company revealed plans to erect a new data centre in Denmark, which will run entirely on renewable energy and will cost around 6bn Danish Krone (€806m).

The new facility will be built near Denmark’s German border in an area called Aabenraa, and aims to be fully functional by Q2 in 2019. Meanwhile, the first Danish data centre Apple invested in is expected to go live this year.

In Ireland, a pivotal decision on the €850m Apple data centre in Athenry has been postponed until July.

Ironically, this data centre was initially planned two years ago alongside the almost-complete Danish facility. The Athenry case has been delayed after several planning objections in the intervening years.

Apple. Image: MichaelJayBerlin/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic