Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One Belt One Net. Asian tycoon invests $5bn to set up data centre company

Business to target companies operating in e-payments, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and advance use of AI in financial services.

In what could be one of the largest initial funding rounds thrown into the creation of a data centre business, Singaporean tycoon Oei Hong Leong, 69, has announced he will put forward $5bn into such project.

The company will be named One Belt One Net, in allusion to China’s One Belt One Road Initiative put in place to foster relationships between 60 Euroasian countries sitting on the ancient Silk Road with total investment topping $900bn, according to Finch.

Leong’s $5bn fund will be used to build a data centre, procure equipment and machinery, cloud computing services, software development, and recruit and train staff.

The billionaire, whose fortune is valuated at $1.36bn according to Forbes, did, however, not give any details on how the data centre project will be funded.

Speaking of the level of customers that will be attractive to One Belt One Net, Leong specifically mentioned those working in e-payments, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Leong said in a statement: “The large—scale data warehousing company will be beneficial to attract the world’s science and technology investment funds and start-up companies inflowing to Singapore and being concentrated in Singapore, so that Singapore will become a new information technology centre and investment centre.”

The 25th richest Singaporean businessman has also hopes the data centre will “tremendously improve” the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX), with the potential to create listed companies such as Tencent and Meitu.

“[One Belt One Net] will improve the stock’s activeness and gradually bring the emerging industries of science and technology into the companies listed in SGX,” he said.

“Over the past decade, in the field of artificial intelligence, electronic payment and other high-tech areas, Singapore is not really in the leading position.

“Now in the big data age, to catch up and to lead is imperative.”