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Hong Kong: home of 7 million crowded people, sky-high real estate prices, and … a new Apple data center. Well, a future Apple data center.

Apple will join Google in building out a data center in the Hong Kong Administrative region, 9to5Mac is reporting. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year, and the data center should be complete by 2015.

Apple does a huge and fast-growing amount of business in China, which controls Hong Kong. The company sells more smartphones in China than the U.S., achieving a higher market share for iPads in China than anywhere else in the world, and is opening new stores in China this year.

In spite of silliness like cloners pre-patenting the iPhone 5, China is the most significant global opportunity for Apple.

The location is apparently in Hong Kong’s “New Territories,” which are the rural, less densely populated region of Hong Kong. Still, population density is relative — the New Territories hold 67,000 people per square mile. That may not sound very rural, and it’s not: New York City has a population density of 26,403 per square mile.

The likely sky-high costs of real estate for a massive data center — Apple’s North Carolina location rests on 171 acres of land — are likely outweighed by the fact that Hong Kong is administratively separate from China and therefore potentially a safer place to keep Apple users’ data secure from a Chinese government with a sketchy track record on online privacy (no aliases allowed) and free speech.

The new data center will join existing facilities in Newark, California, North Carolina, and planned data centers in Nevada and Prineville, Oregon.

Image credit: Wikipedia


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