TikTok to open European data centre in Dublin next year

7 Apr 2022

Image: © tashatuvango/Stock.adobe.com

TikTok’s head of privacy for Europe said the investment ‘further cements the importance of Ireland’ in the company’s global operations.

TikTok has signed a contract for a data centre in Dublin, which will store data for its UK and European users.

The social media giant confirmed yesterday (6 April) that it is working with a third-party service provider and that construction on its first European data centre has already begun. The company expects the centre to be operational early next year, with operations ramping up as the year progresses.

TikTok first shared plans to build the data centre in August 2020, with an initial expected cost of €420m and due date of early 2022.

However, The Irish Times reports that the investment is now believed to be worth around €600m due to increased capacity. The project has also faced pandemic-related delays.

TikTok’s head of privacy in Europe, Elaine Fox, said a regional approach to data governance will allow the company to “stay aligned with European data sovereignty goals”.

“As a forward-looking company intent on continuing to provide a fulfilling platform for creators and businesses to entertain and realise meaningful opportunities, we believe it is important to provide a localised solution that includes leaning on the expertise of leadership and employees in the region,” Fox said in a statement.

“Where data transfers outside of the region are required, we rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses.”

TikTok currently stores global user data in Singapore and the US.

TikTok’s Irish investment

Fox added that the investment “cements the importance of Ireland” to the company’s global business operations.

TikTok set up a Dublin base in 2018 and has been on an expansion drive since, as the short-form video app has soared in popularity and reached around 1bn monthly active users globally.

In 2020, TikTok’s Irish team was given responsibility for privacy oversight of European users and the company later announced plans to establish a European Transparency and Accountability Centre in Dublin.

The company’s Dublin headcount rapidly rose in 2020 and it planned to start 2021 with more than 1,100 employees. Last summer, it said it would further grow its headcount with a new cybersecurity centre in Dublin, creating more than 50 new roles.

Fox said TikTok is committing to office space in Dublin as it is one of the “most important global hubs” for the company.

Last year, it signed a long-term lease for the Sorting Office in Dublin’s docklands, which has space for up to 2,000 employees. The Irish Times reported last month that TikTok has also been in talks to rent a further 257,000 sq ft of office space across two sites under development in the docklands area, potentially with a 12-year lease.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic