After €420m data centre, is a TikTok HQ next?

Ireland awoke to the news today (6 August) that rising social media video platform TikTok has selected Dublin for its European data centre.

Social media app TikTok, which is currently an acquisition target of Microsoft and which is also currently mulling New York or London for its international headquarters, has selected Dublin for its European data centre.

Dublin is already home to the international/EMEA headquarters of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Microsoft to name a few, as well as their respective data centres, so Ireland could be in with a shout.

“This data centre signals our long-term commitment to Ireland and we expect the data centre to open and be operational by early 2022”

“This investment in Ireland, to the value of approximately €420m, will create hundreds of new jobs and play a key role in further strengthening the safeguarding and protection of TikTok user data, with a state-of-the-art physical and network security defense system planned around this new operation,” said Roland Cloutier, Global Chief Information Security Officer, TikTok.

“This new regional data centre will deliver tangible benefits, including enabling faster loading time that will help our TikTok community to enjoy an even better experience. When our data centre is operational, European user data will be stored in this new location,” Cloutier said.

Another jewel for Europe’s digital HQ

Ireland already plays a key role in our rapidly expanding European operations. Since establishing our EMEA Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin at the start of this year, we have rapidly expanded our team and appointed senior leaders who are continuously enhancing the strategies, policies and processes designed to keep people on TikTok safe. 

TikTok’s Irish company recently became the data controller alongside TikTok’s UK company, with the former now the service provider for our users across the EEA and Switzerland. As part of this development, we are also continuing to grow our data protection and privacy teams.  

In recent days it emerged that Microsoft intended to buy TikTok but very quickly found itself running the gauntlet of US President Donald Trump’s ire over security concerns, specifically fears that the Chinese government may gain access to TikTok’s data on American citizens.

In the meantime, the UK is in a fierce bidding war to land TikTok’s international HQ in London or New York.

The video app’s owner ByteDance already has 800 of its European workforce in Ireland and the UK.

For Ireland landing the TikTok data centre deal will add to the constellation of tech jewel’s in the nation’s digital crown and puts the country on the road to winning further investment.

“Protecting our community’s privacy and data is and will continue to be our priority,” Cloutier said.

“Today’s announcement is just the latest part of our ongoing work to enhance our global capability and efforts to protect our users and the TikTok community. This data centre signals our long-term commitment to Ireland and we expect the data centre to open and be operational by early 2022. We are continuing to work on the details with our key partners, including the IDA and we will share more updates on our progress in the near future.

The news was welcomed by IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan.

“TikTok’s decision to establish its first European data centre in Ireland, representing a substantial investment here by the company, is very welcome and, following on from the establishment of its EMEA Trust & Safety Hub in Dublin earlier in the year, positions Ireland as an important location in the company’s global operations.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 6 August, 2020