Google yesterday began construction of a new data center in Hong Kong, the first of three planned for Asia as the Web giant expands to meet the region’s growing thirst for information technology.
The facility, Google’s first outside the US and Europe, will cost US$300 million and is being built on 2.7 hectares in the Tseung Kwan O industrial estate in Kowloon, the firm said.
“We’re working as quickly as we can [to] get to this facility operational so we can keep up with rapid growth in capacity demand across the region,” Simon Chang, Google’s Hardware Operations manager in Asia, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“We’re targeting early 2013 to start bringing the facility online,” he said, according to a statement.
Two other data centers — which usually house computer and telecom systems with high security and backup power supplies — are also planned for Taiwan and Singapore.
The firm has said the facility in Taiwan will cost more than US$100 million, but has yet to release any figure for Singapore.
Separately, US telecoms titan Verizon is shunning Google’s nascent smartphone Wallet, saying the technology reaches too deep into handsets for comfort.
Verizon asked the Internet giant not to include the payment feature on new Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphones tailored for the carrier’s network, Google said in response to a reporter’s inquiry.
Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said that the carrier was not blocking Google Wallet from Galaxy Nexus smartphones, but was “continuing our commercial discussions with Google” regarding including the technology in handsets.
Verizon maintained that its reservations stem from the fact that Wallet requires access to secure chips deep in smartphones.
Google Wallet uses a near field communication (NFC) chip embedded in a phone to allow a user to “tap-and-pay” for purchases at a checkout register equipped with the PayPass system from CitiMasterCard.
Chips essentially transmit credit card details to sensors at checkouts to consummate purchases.
NFC technology is being tested or used in a number of countries already, notably France, but Google Wallet was the first to bring it to the US on a potentially large scale.