Google expands Chile data centre with US$140 million investment

SANTIAGO – Google will invest US$140 million to expand the U.S. tech giant’s sole data centre in Latin America, the Chilean officials announced on Wednesday.

The expansion, hailed by Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera as proof of the country’s enthusiastic participation in “the fourth industrial revolution”, represents the company’s second stage of growth for the data centre in Quilicura, near Santiago, which became fully operational in 2015.

Google said the new investment will triple the data centre’s size to 11.2 hectares (27.7 acres) and create more than 1,000 new jobs in the construction process and 120 new permanent jobs.

Google’s new investment is in addition to the US$150 million it spent to build the centre. The company first announced data centre construction plans Chile in 2012, eight months after it opened offices in the country. Since January of 2017, the data centre has operated entirely on solar power from Chile’s Atacama region, Google said.

At the event, President Sebastián Piñera vowed that Chile will be on the forefront of what he called “the current of history” in the technology revolution.

“We want Chile to be the leading figure, a pioneer and, I hope, a capital for the processing, storage and transmission of data,” Piñera said.

“We have many reasons to want to be a pioneer and we have the foundations to become one. The fourth industrial revolution is knocking at our door,” he added.

Edgardo Frias, Google’s general manager in Chile, said the improved infrastructure that came from establishing a data centre in Chile helped the company develop its capacity in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.

“This new stage reinforces the promise Google made to the region to ensure that large and small companies, non-profit organizations, students, educators and all users can access key tools in a reliable and rapid way,” Frias said.

Chile’s Piñera meets with Silicon Valley’s tech giants

Google’s announcement comes at a time when Chile’s government and rival Inc are having conversations about its interest to house and mine massive amounts of data generated by the country’s giant telescopes.

Chile and Argentina, two of South America’s largest economies, have been courting investment from the cloud computing and e-commerce company.