Zoom opens new data centre in S'pore, 1st in Southeast Asia

The company is planning to hire as well.

Matthias Ang | August 18, 2020, 06:25 PM

Video conferencing app Zoom Video Communications has opened a new data centre in Singapore, in its first expansion into Southeast Asia, Bloomberg reported.

The company, which is based in San Jose, California, had established the data centre with the help of Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB).

This brings the total number of data centres established by Zoom around the world to 18.

Zoom's head of international, Abe Smith, was further quoted by Bloomberg as stating that the company plans to hire several new engineers and sales staff, as well as offer new services to scale the business up in Southeast Asia.

New data centre means paid Zoom customers can choose Singapore to host meetings

One immediate benefit for users of Zoom is that people who own paid accounts can now select Singapore as one of the data centre regions to host meetings and webinars.

This function to select data regions was first announced by Zoom in April, after a report by Citizen Lab in the University of Toronto found that Zoom generated the encryption keys of some calls from China, even if none of the participants were in China, The Verge reported.

As such, the report highlighted that Zoom could be legally obligated to give the keys over to Chinese authorities, a matter which it labelled as "potentially concerning", given that Zoom's clients were largely from North America.

Zoom subsequently responded to the report by acknowledging that it had "failed to implement our usual geo-fencing best practices".

As for free users, Zoom clarified at the launch in April that they will be locked into the data centres within the default region where their account is provisioned, which is the U.S. for the majority of free users.

In addition, their data will not be routed through China, if they are outside of the country.

At that time, the data centre regions were listed as U.S., Canada, Europe, India, Australia, China, Latin America, and Japan/Hong Kong SAR.

Not the only major tech company to have established a data centre here

Zoom is not the only major tech company to have established a data centre here.

In 2018, Facebook announced that it was spending over S$1.4 billion to construct its first data centre in Singapore and in Asia, at Tanjong Kling, formerly known as Data Centre Park.

And an article by The Atlantic on Tik Tok has revealed that the app also stores data on Americans in both the U.S. and Singapore, and therefore out of the reach of the Chinese government.

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Top image from Zoom Facebook and John via Flickr