South Korean Internet giant Kakao to build first data center for $337m

Ten years after its inception, Kakao has revealed it will build its first data center to cope with exponential growth in data traffic.

The South Korean Internet giant made a deal with Hanyang University and Gyeonggi provincial Government to build the facility on the University’s Erica campus in Ansan for US$337 million (400 billion won).

“This data center will give us a stable foundation for our research and development in technology like big data and artificial intelligence,” said a Kakao spokesperson.

Breaking ground next year

Ground will be broken on the 197,873 square feet plot of land by 2021, with a vision of the hyperscale data center being completed by 2023.

“Our goal is to establish the best data center in the IT industry in terms of stability, efficiency and security. It will be a great opportunity for the AI, big data, and cloud-related industries to develop,” said Yeo Min-soo, the co-CEO of Kakao.

Housing a total of 120,000 servers and a storage capacity of six exabytes (6 billion gigabytes), the data center will be designed with green solutions in mind, including monitoring systems, refrigerators, thermo-hygrostats and rainwater cooling innovations.

Kakao’s new data center comes at a time when increases in Internet traffic and data consumption are seen throughout the country, with an average consumption of more than 122 exabytes, which is expected to exceed 396 exabytes in 2022.

Located 30 kilometers from Seoul, the facility will be built next to a science research complex at the university campus to take advantage of its computing and data processing capabilities.

Kakao Data Center LocationThe Ansan municipality, another partner in the deal, expects the data center to create 2,700 jobs and approximately US$673.5 million (800 billion won) worth of production.

Previous to this announcement, Kakao outsourced its data storage facilities since 2006, while its competitor Naver has a data center in Chuncheon, Gangwon. Now, as Kakao has grown into finance, gaming and the operator of the country’s most-used mobile messenger service, the Internet giant has found a need to construct its own data center.

Last year, the Ansan Science Valley, which is centered around the Erica campus, was designated to become a “technological innovation cluster” by the government.

The campus is also planning to become a base for regional innovation growth by promoting the creation of small high-tech industrial complexes, including Kakao’s data center.

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