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Google considers an alternative to Hong Kong for submarine cables


Google is considering alternative planned high-speed internet cable destinations after the US government warned against building links to Hong Kong for security reasons.

“We’re looking at alternatives. Thomas Kurian, head of Google’s cloud computing business, said in an interview that there are always alternatives and evaluate them.” It’s always wise to keep the location in mind,” he added.

Google, along with Facebook, supports the 13,000-kilometer high-capacity submarine cable connecting the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, known as the Pacific Light Cable Network. But the US is opposed to the Hong Kong part of the link because it could expose global data to China.

Initially announced in 2017, PLCN is the first direct connection between the United States and Hong Kong, but last week the US Department of Justice recommended connecting only North America to Taiwan and the Philippines with cables.

Cloud computing companies are shifting their focus from Hong Kong to Southeast Asia and South Asia, increasing their growth potential.

One of the largest beneficiaries is Singapore. Singapore wants to be a data hub in and of itself as a gateway for cloud providers to reach 750 million people in Southeast Asia.

Google is behind the rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft this week, making it the first of the three major cloud providers in the US to launch a data center officially called the “Cloud Region” in Indonesia. .. One of the company’s next goals in Asia is India. In India, we plan to open a data center in New Delhi in 2021.

“As a hub for the internet, we see very strong demand from Singapore, which results in a large amount of data traffic through Singapore,” Kurian said. Said it is increasing. For fast-growing start-up companies, local banks, and digitizing conglomerates.

The Hong Kong government has established itself as a data hub in Asia, but is less important to US cloud providers as well as Chinese rivals. Tao Wu, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner, is a technology research firm.

“Singapore has become much more important than Hong Kong in terms of location and population,” said Wu. “Other top cloud providers, such as Alibaba Cloud, are more focused on focusing globally in Southeast Asia than expanding in Hong Kong.”

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Kurian said that both Google and its cloud division, Google Cloud Services, are expanding their footprint at financial centers in Asia, which is also the company’s regional headquarters. Google had never seen a particular city or country as a hub for Asia given the size of the region, but Singapore had the technical infrastructure to do so.

“We’re not sure if that will work, but we think we could definitely do so.”

AWS and Alibaba are also targeting Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country. Alibaba launched its first data center in 2018, but Amazon’s AWS will follow Google at the end of next year or early 2022.

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