It appears that Apple is going to build another massive data center — and this one will be in Hong Kong SAR, China.
Apple recently finalized a location in the New Territories region of Hong Kong near the Shenzhen China border for the data center. We spoke to a bidding contractor employee who, on the condition of anonymity, told us the planned data center’s scale is unprecedented for his business: “There is simply nothing to compare it to and therefore it is hard to make estimates on size based on the materials required.” We were told that construction is to begin in Q1 2013, and it will likely take over a year for operations to start in the data center.
Apple’s aim is to have the center operational by 2015, which will be the same time that Apple’s “Spaceship Campus 2” is scheduled to go online.
Companies typically select Hong Kong for their Chinese data centers because of the Special Administrative Region‘s “One country, two systems” autonomous legal structure which apparently helps keep the Mainland Chinese Government’s hands off the data physically housed on its soil.
Apple would want to avoid physically having its servers in Mainland China to avoid government snooping, yet it needs to be physically and politically close to the fast growing region that includes the world’s most populous nation.
The Greater China area is Apple’s fastest growing region, and the biggest smartphone market on the planet.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, had this to say about China in July 2011:
China was very key to our results. As a reminder, for greater China—mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan—year-over-year it was up over 6 times. And the revenue was approximately $3.8 billion during the quarter. And that makes the year-to-date numbers through the three quarters we’ve had thus far around $8.8 billion. So this has been a substantial opportunity for Apple, and I firmly believe that we’re just scratching the surface right now. I think there is an incredible opportunity for Apple there.