Tycoon Oei Hong Leong throws weight behind Singapore's tech ambitions with $6.7bn data centre firm

Oei Hong Leong envisions the business as a way to complement China's One Belt One Road initiative.

SINGAPORE - Tycoon Oei Hong Leong is investing US$5 billion (S$6.73 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 investment will be used to build the data centres, procure equipment and machinery, develop software and recruit and train employees, Mr Oei said in a statement on Monday (Sept 18).

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

By contributing towards the development of the local tech ecosystem, 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 is in a good position to ride on the growth of the tech sector, he noted, 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.

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

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