Search giant Google has recently announced that plans to move forward with a new data center in Hong Kong have been put on hold indefinitely. Although the official cause cited was lack of expansion room on the city-country, one would think that Google was aware of the contentious isolation long before plans for the data center were drawn up.
The $300 million data center – which helps Google maintain its round-the-clock search engine accessibility and other products – was to be the 13th such center. The other 12 are located in Iowa, South Caroline, Georgia, Chile, Oklahoma, Oregon, North Carolina, Taiwan, Singapore, Finland, Ireland and Belgium. The purported excuse that a “lack of land space” as the reason the Hong Kong Google data center plans have been scrapped, seems at odds with the relatively new ones in Taiwan and Singapore; this has caused rumblings that Google’s past disputes with the Chinese government are more to blame than any geographical limitations.
Most of the disagreements between Google and the Chinese government have centered on the latter’s inclination to limit Google’s bread-and-butter, Search; censorship of certain products would not sit well with paying advertisers, from which Google obtains over 95 percent of its revenue. But that is precisely what the Chinese want to do; there’s also some concern over Chinese hackers getting access to things better kept hidden – from Google’s point of view.
Nonetheless, all is not lost insofar as Google data centers and the Hong Kong connection – the future may bring better news as restrictions are lifted and deals made. “We will continue to work closely with the government on this process, and will continue to invest and grow in Hong Kong,” said a press release from Google.