Taipei, April 3 (CNA) Google Inc. broke ground Tuesday for the construction of a data center in Changhua County in Taiwan that will be the largest of its three data centers in Asia.
Google will invest over US$300 million (NT$8.84 billion) in the project, going over the US$100 million that was announced in September last year because of higher demand for capacity in the Asia-Pacific region.
"First, I want to thank the government of Taiwan for such a forward-thinking and business-friendly environment," said Daniel Alegre, president of Google's Asia-Pacific division, at the groundbreaking ceremony.
With more new Internet users coming online every day in Asia, more than anywhere else in the world, Google is building data centers in the region to ensure fast and reliable access to all of its services, he said.
The Taiwan project will bring Google's long-term investment in data centers in Asia to more than US$700 million. The other two centers are located in Hong Kong and Singapore.
When it becomes fully operational, the Taiwan facility is expected to employ 25 permanent staff members and a number of part-time and full-time contract workers, including computer technicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, and catering and security staff.
Google Taiwan Managing Director Chien Lee-feng said the company will work as fast as it can to finish the project in early 2013 and start operations by the end of the year.
"This is just a beginning," Chien said. "It represents not only land or a building, but also integration with Taiwan's cloud computing industry."
He said what makes Taiwan different from other countries is its strength in information and communications technology (ICT), including the server, storage and network equipment sectors.
As a result, Google expects the data center in Taiwan to become a hub for the cloud computing industry chain, Chien said.
Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang said that Google's decision to set up a data center in Changhua County will spur the development of Taiwan's ICT industry.
The move also indicates closer ties between Google and the country's hardware and software companies, Shih said.
Google has 15 offices and thousands of employees across the Asia Pacific region, including an office in Taiwan.
(By Jeffrey Wu)