Speech by S for IT at SUNeVision MEGA Plus Data Center Topping Out Ceremony (English only) (with photos)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Mr Nicholas W Yang, at the SUNeVision MEGA Plus Data Center Topping Out Ceremony today (December 8):

Christopher, Allen, Peter, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to join you today at the Topping Out Ceremony of SUNeVision's MEGA Plus Data Center. MEGA Plus is a purpose-built data centre with a Tier-4-ready design. Its completion will further expand the data centre cluster here in Tseung Kwan O.

     Data centres are essential infrastructure for a knowledge-based digital economy. Data generates value. Businesses today are becoming more and more data-driven. With the robust growth in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data analytics, Hong Kong has seen strong demand for data centres in recent years. According to market forecasts, global cloud workload will more than triple from 2014 to 2019 and global data centre traffic will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent over the same period. As a result, global data centre capacities will more than double from 2014 to 2019.

     Hong Kong is a prime location for setting up data centres in the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to our world-class information and communications technology infrastructure. Currently, Hong Kong has nine submarine cable systems, 17 overland cable systems connecting the four telecommunications operators in the Mainland, plus the operation of 10 satellites for external communications. Recently, we all know that Facebook and Google have announced their plan to build a new submarine cable with a capacity of 120 Tbps, connecting Hong Kong and Los Angeles directly, which is also the first direct link between Hong Kong and continental US. Upon completion in 2018, it will be the largest in capacity among all trans-Pacific cable systems.

     Hong Kong's pro-business environment, sound legal system and free flow of talent and information give us the competitive edge to become the region's premier data centre hub. With our added advantages under "one country, two systems" and opportunities arising from the Mainland's Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong is best positioned to develop into a regional data centre hub for hosting, storage and processing services.

     In this regard, the Government has been promoting the development of data centres in Hong Kong under a multi-pronged approach.

     A few years ago, the Government earmarked three hectares of land in Tseung Kwan O for high-tier data centre development. The first site, on which we are now standing or sitting, was released in 2013. We are taking steps to release the other two sites as soon as possible to meet the industry demand.

     In addition, due to the tight land supply in Hong Kong, the Government has introduced a number of concessionary measures to encourage conversion of existing industrial buildings for data centre use, and development of high-tier data centres on existing industrial sites. Earlier this year, in light of positive market response, the Government has extended these originally time-limited concessionary measures until further notice. In addition, the Lands Department has streamlined the procedures for processing applications for these concessions.

     Since 2011, we have set up the Data Centre Facilitation Unit under the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer to provide one-stop support to the industry, to facilitate both overseas and local companies in setting up data centres in Hong Kong. The Facilitation Unit helps liaise with relevant government departments on matters such as statutory requirements and procedures in respect of data centre development, including the conversion of existing industrial buildings and development of new data centres. Apart from streamlining administrative procedures, the Government stands ready to support the industry in adopting state-of-the-art technologies, including the adoption of multi-storey high-rise design, to optimise site development potential.

     Lastly, I would like to offer my thanks to SUNeVision for its continued support of Hong Kong's innovation and technology industry. I look forward to seeing more data centres of this high standard to be commissioned in the years ahead to make Hong Kong the top-tier data centre hub in Asia.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Thursday, December 8, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:14