With the help of Shenzhen-listed tech firm Highlander, China is well on its way to launching the world's first undersea commercial data center facility.
The data center, expected to be complete in five years, will feature up to 100 data cabinets, each launched across three phases of the facility opening.
Highlander will work with the Hainan government on the construction, and internet service provider Beijing Sinnet technology will oversee its operation in the future.
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Ma Yonghua, director of the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Hainan Province said that Hainan has unique advantages in developing subsea data center projects.
Data center subsea
According to a translated release by Sinnet, Highlander will establish a joint venture submarine data center operating company with Hylan Cloud to participate in the operation and maintenance of the Hainan demonstration project.
The project plans to use green energy for power supply, with the goal of achieving a truly “carbon neutral” data center. Financial details, however, were not disclosed.
Speaking at the data center event, Highlander vice president Xu Tan noted that Hainan’s free trade port would be beneficial for the project.
"With the advent of the 5G and even 6G era, data flow will increase exponentially, and the construction of submarine data centers can also meet the needs of future development," added Xu.
According to China News Service, the data center that was first announced at the start of the year will utilize seawater to reduce energy consumption by around 30%.
This is not the first time the world is hearing about an underwater data center. In 2017, Microsoft's Project Natick team conducted an experiment where it submerged a self-sustaining data center off the coast of Scotland's Orkney Islands and retrieved it out of the water in 2020.
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