Naver moves servers from Hong Kong to Singapore

South Korea’s internet giant Naver Corp this week became the first major ICT company to formerly retreat from Hong Kong since China introduced its new national security law. “We are currently shifting our backup data servers in Hong Kong to Singapore to better manage and protect our user data,” it announced on Tuesday. The company had already deleted all data stored in Hong Kong in early July, it added.
The decision by Naver – South Korea’s answer to Google and its main rival in the country – is the latest development to raise questions over Hong’s Kong’s long-term future as the dominant data and digital hub in the region in the light of China’s growing control over the territory. Facebook, Twitter and Google are also believed to be reconsidering their positions in the light of Beijing’s decision to move Hong Kong’s internet behind mainland China’s Great Firewall.
Google has also confirmed that it is having second thoughts about designating Hong Kong as the landing point for the Pacific Light Cable network, the 13,000km high-capacity subsea cable that, with backing from both Google and Facebook, was originally intended to link the US to Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines. Following last month’s warnings from the US Justice Department that including Hong Kong in the project could expose global data to China Google is considering alternative destinations. Here again, Singapore is believed to be high on the short list and, with several financial services institutions eyeing it up as a viable alternative, could end up being a major beneficiary from the international fall-out over Hong Kong.
Over that past 30 years, Hong Kong has established itself as a major hub for digital services and the digital economy is estimated to account for between 7% and 10% of its overall GDP. Thanks to its strategic location, it is a major interconnection point for intercontinental traffic between Asia and America. At the latest count it was home to 412 service providers and 108 data centres. How many will still be there in a year’s time remains to be seen.