Taiwan press talks up iffy rumor about a new local Apple datacenter

in General Discussion

Taiwan press venues are circulating rumors of a new Apple datacenter coming that don't appear to be based on anything, making claims of a $14 billion benefit to the country's economy questionable, at best.

A spacious, modern store with glass walls, wooden tables displaying electronics, three people walking, and one person taking a photo. A large red artwork on the back wall.
Inside Apple's store in Taipei, Taiwan

Apple does build data centers -- or tries to -- and recently it has been reported to be working on AI processors for such data centers. So rumors amongst the technology industry in Taiwan that Apple is to build a data center in the country are theoretically possible.

It can't be absolutely counted out, but the report in Money.UDM literally says it is based on optimism. That optimism within the country's technology sector is based on how Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Amazon AWS have at least made similar plans.

The publication also sees as proof only that the Ministry of Digital Development is said to have responded only that the news could not be confirmed. There does not appear to have been an attempt to ask Apple.

It's further extrapolated from this rumor, that Apple would require green energy and that therefore the green industry would benefit. Specifically, it's claimed that the economic benefits driven by a new data center and its related construction, would be worth 100 billion yaun ($13.78 billion.)

A datacenter would bring economic benefits to the region. Apple's plans for a datacenter in Atherny, County Galway, was said to be costing the company $1 billion -- but it also caused protests and legal challenges, and has so far been abandoned.

So the concomitant economic benefits to a region were not enough to persuade the people of Galway. But overall, such a project does bring construction and operational jobs, plus the provision and perhaps manufacture of related goods and services.

For users, each data center Apple builds helps minimize downtime globally. It also makes delivery of services from Apple TV+ to iCloud faster and more efficient.

Adding to the reasons to doubt the rumor of Apple building a new data center in Taiwan, is that the publication reporting it also variously refers to Honghai and Honkai. Based on the staff named, it is using both terms to refer to the Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd, which owns Foxconn.

Apple is a major customer of Foxconn, although far from the only one, but the firm is relevant because this new datacenter speculation follows a meeting of its shareholders in which Foxconn's Zheng Hongmeng emphasized the growth of AI.

In what's possibly a mistaken machine translation, he is said to have shouted at shareholders that, "There is definitely no need to worry." His point was apparently that AI processor demand is booming, but it isn't clear why shareholders saw this as a concern.

Separately, Apple is already a significant contributor to the Taiwanese economy. As well as it operating two Apple Stores in the region, Apple's processor supplier TSMC is also based in the country. As of 2021, Apple was TSMC's largest single customer, accounting for a quarter of the then latest $48.08 billion annual revenue figures.

Rumor Score: Unlikely

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