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Technology

Google boosts Taiwan data center plans with $850m investment

Expansion highlights island as haven from trade war

Google has a presence in mainland China and Taiwan, spreading its investments in Asia.   © Reuters

TAIPEI -- Taiwan has approved investment by Google worth 26 billion New Taiwan dollars ($851 million) to expand the company's data center operations on the island.

The capital increase represents the latest hedge by an American tech giant against the risks from the drawn-out trade war between the U.S. and China. Google last month announced plans to build a second data center in Taiwan, acquiring land in the southwestern city of Tainan.

A commission under Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs signed off Monday on a capital injection into a local unit from an affiliate of Google parent Alphabet. The additional funds will bolster the group's investment activities here.

In 2013, Google debuted one of its first Asian data centers in Taiwan's Changhua County.

Google has enlarged its Taiwanese operations in other areas as well. In January 2018, the company acquired a development team from Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC that now works on Google's Pixel phones.

That same year, Google established a Taiwanese research lab for artificial intelligence, and the company looks to open new offices in northern Taiwan in late 2020.

The U.S.-China trade war has made Taiwan an attractive investment destination for the American tech sector. The highly skilled local talent and relatively low wages have become selling points.

Last year, Microsoft and IBM built AI research centers on the island. Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing arm of Amazon.com, set up a lab in Taipei during the spring to research "internet of things" technologies.

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