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Tech pros slam Hong Kong data center strategy

Teresa Leung | Oct. 13, 2011
Local tech pros slam Hong Kong's reservation of two hectares of land in Tsueng Kwan O for data center use as lacking a longer-term vision.

Local tech pros slam Hong Kong's reservation of two hectares of land in Tsueng Kwan O for data center use as lacking a longer-term vision.

On Wednesday, the SAR's Chief Executive Donald Tsang said the first site of the reserved land is expected to be put up for open auction in 2013 at the earliest during his last Policy Address speech at the Legislative Council.

Legislative Councilor Samson Tam (IT Constituency) believes the government's measure is a good start, but said two hectares aren't enough. "We need 20 hectares of land to meet the demand for the next five to eight years--this was what I recommended to the Chief Executive last month," said Tam. "That size will allow the building of about 10 large data centers--you can only build two data centers at most on two hectares of land."

He urged the government to speed up the rezoning of more land in Tseung kwan O for data center use. "Without enough space, companies will move their data centers to Singapore--this is definitely what the government and industry don't want to see," Tam said. He also suggests Northern Lantau as another possible location for data center development, though the area's far from any undersea cables.

Charles Mok, chairman of Internet Society Hong Kong pointed out that the Lok Ma Chau Loop area will be another option for data center use. "The area may not be open for any use in the next 10 to 20 years as both the Shenzhen and Hong Kong governments are planning its usage," said Mok. "But data center development requires long term planning so it might provide some land for this purpose."

He suggested that the local government to plan for the longer term when it comes to data center. "Countries like Singapore look at what needs to be done for a 20-year timeframe," said Mok. "Hong Kong needs to do the same instead of coming up with some one-off measure like this after more than six years of lobbying by the industry."

Tsang also said that while the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks will review the use of its industrial estates and might revitalize them to support local data center development, the government will seriously consider the feasibility of building data centers in revitalized industrial buildings.

Existing industrial buildings might provide some data center space, but they aren't ideal for building tier 3 and 4 facilities, said Tam. "There is another problem with those industrial estates of the Science and Technology Parks--the organization considers co-location services a form of sub-letting that it bans on its properties."

Cloud and tech R&D in Hong Kong

During his Policy Address speech, Tsang also said that the government will encourage the local development of cloud computing technologies and applications. "In the next few years, we will develop a government cloud platform and procure public cloud services," he noted.


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