Tycoon sets up $6.7 billion data centre business

Mr Oei Hong Leong hopes the new company, One Belt One Net, will complement China's One Belt, One Road initiative.
Mr Oei Hong Leong hopes the new company, One Belt One Net, will complement China's One Belt, One Road initiative.

Tycoon Oei Hong Leong is investing US$5 billion (S$6.7 billion) to set up a new company, named One Belt One Net, that will build data centres.

As the name implies, Mr Oei envisions the business as a way to complement China's One Belt, One Road initiative, a massive project to ignite growth in the countries along the ancient Silk Road.

The funds he has committed to this new endeavour will be used to build the data centres, procure equipment, develop software and recruit and train employees, Mr Oei said in a statement yesterday.

He did not reveal the source of funding for his ambitious project.

By contributing towards the development of the local tech ecosystem, he said he hopes Singapore will attract more science and technology-focused investment funds and start-ups.

Mr Oei has two particular types of clients in mind for his upcoming data centres - companies involved in online and mobile payments and those working with blockchain technology.

Singapore's status as an international financial centre, its sound regulatory environment and reputation for innovation will put it in good stead to attract start-ups focusing on these technologies, he said.

In fact, he said Singapore is in a good position to ride on the growth of the tech sector on the whole, thanks to a clean and efficient government, stable political climate and solid rule of law.

Yet, Singapore can do more in areas such as artificial intelligence, electronic payments and other high-tech industries, he noted.

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

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2017, with the headline 'Tycoon sets up $6.7 billion data centre business'. Print Edition | Subscribe