Facebook is evaluating real estate options in Asia for a data center to expand its capacity to serve a quickly growing user base in the region, BusinessKorea reported citing anonymous industry sources.
An official from the social networking company's US headquarters visited South Korea in December to look at various location options, including one in Busan, one of the country's largest metropolises, the report said.
It quoted an unnamed South Korea Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning official who said, “Facebook is visiting some key locations around Asia, including Korea, and is looking for a suitable place to build its data center.
“The decision has not been made yet, but the review is underway.”
A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the company did not comment on “rumors and speculation.”
The social network currently runs out of four US data centers – it owns two of them and leases the other two – and one in Lulea, Sweden, which it also owns. The company has been shifting equipment out of its leased Silicon Valley facility since it brought its own data centers in Oregon and North Carolina online.
The data centers Facebook has built for itself are very large in terms of size and power capacity. Its Oregon facility consumed more than 150m kWh of electricity in 2012, and the North Carolina data center went through about 100m kWh that year, according to the company's annual energy consumption and carbon footprint report.
About 730m people actively used Facebook every day in September 2013 on average, according to the most recent statistics available from the company. About 80% of them were outside of North America.
Asia Pacific is now home to more than 40% of the world's internet users, according to a July 2013 report by the market-research company comScore. About 25% are in Europe, 15% in the US and the rest are split between Latin America, Middle East and Africa.
US companies, including Facebook competitors, have been expanding data center infrastructure in Asia Pacific to make sure they have the capacity to serve what is becoming the largest market for internet and IT services. Among the most recent data center launches in the region were facilities by Google, Oracle and Amazon Web Services.
Facebook has offices in a number of Asia Pacific cities, including Auckland, Hong Kong, Selangor, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.