Google will open a cloud region in Hong Kong next year, expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific region and potentially signaling renewed interest by the tech giant to re enter the Chinese market.
In a blog post, Google said the Hong Kong data centers will provide high performance and low latency for applications while three availability zones will protect against service disruptions.
“Hong Kong is an international commercial hub and is among the world’s leading service-oriented economies,” Rick Harshman, Google Cloud’s managing director for its Asia Pacific region, wrote in the post. “By opening this region, customers in Hong Kong will benefit from low latency and high performance of their cloud-based workloads and data. The region is also designed for high availability, launching with three zones to protect against service disruptions.”
It will become Google’s sixth cloud region in the Asia Pacific region, following Singapore, Sydney, Taiwan, Tokyo, and a recently announced Mumbai region. The move also comes as Amazon Web Services readies to launch its own new cloud infrastructure in Hong Kong next year.
Google had planned to launch data centers in Hong Kong but ended up backing off those plans in 2013, citing cost and lack of available land.
The move into Hong Kong is notable, in part, because it gives Google a local presence in one of the key financial hubs in the region, but it could also serve as a stepping stone for the company to get back into mainland China.
The company left the country after a 2009 cyberattack that was believed to have been orchestrated by state-sponsored hackers. And Chinese regulations have presented problems for U.S. cloud providers, with AWS recently selling off some of its Chinese hardware assets to comply with local laws.
Google’s intentions in the world’s second largest economy remain unclear, and the company has said it has no plans to bring Google Cloud to China. But US giants like AWS, Microsoft and IBM offer their cloud services from data centers in the country, and the market potential is too big for Google to ignore.
For now, Google said the new data centers are about serving the market in Hong Kong only.
“Hong Kong has just begun its digital transformation,” Harshman wrote, ”and this new GCP region will make it easier for Hong Kong companies to build highly available, performant applications.”