Google, owner of the world's most popular search engine, has doubled its spending for a planned data centre in Taiwan to $600 million (£366 million, AU$658 million). The increase in spending has come amid surging demand in Asia – which is home to more than half of the world's population - for Gmail and YouTube services.

Demand for online services is incredibly high in the Asia-Pacific region. China – Asia's largest nation in both economy and population – has more than 500 million internet users. The number of Indian internet users alone doubled to 200 million since the project was announced two years ago. According to Google It took six years to achieve the same milestone in the U.S.

The firm is looking at expansion into the area as revenue growth in the U.S. begins to be eclipsed by the Asian market. "We need sites we can grow into," Google's head of data centres, Joe Kava, said in a recent blog post. "It was afforded here in Taiwan and the simple fact is that we didn't have the opportunity to continue expanding elsewhere."

"This growth won't slow"

Kava added that the centre, which will occupy 15 hectares (37 acres), currently has 60 employees and is still hiring. Also planned for operation is a smaller centre in Singapore. Plans for a Hong Kong project, however, have been scrapped due to a lack of land for expansion.

Based, in Mountain View, California, the company gained 47% of its revenue from the U.S. last year, down from 57% in 2006. Comparatively, Asia-Pacific internet revenue will rise 16% this year to $29 billion (£17 billion, $AU31 billion), outpacing the 11% growth expected in North America.

"This growth probably won't slow for some time. The majority of people who have yet to come online also happen to live in Asia," says Kava.