Chunghwa Telecom, IBM Team on Taiwan Data Center

Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. and IBM Corp. announced Friday an alliance aimed at delivering Internet data center and hosting services in Taiwan, the first such pact IBM has entered into in the Greater China region.

Scheduled to begin full operations in late March of 2001, the alliance's operations will be managed by executives from both companies, with Chunghwa Telecom contributing the bandwidth, network equipment and physical data center space, and IBM providing the IT infrastructure, including hardware software and services, the companies said in a joint statement.

Leveraging Chunghwa Telecom's position as the leading provider of both telecommunications and Internet services in Taiwan, the two partners said their goal is to offer the broadest possible range of hosting services in Taiwan, from basic colocation to complete electronic business hosting services.

Financial terms of the agreement were not available.

The Internet data center and hosting business is about to heat up in Taiwan, with a number of major players readying to enter the market as the island by early next year will see three private fixed-line operators open up for business.

In late November, for example, pan-Asian data center and Web hosting services provider iAsiaWorks Inc. announced that it by next year's first quarter plans to open in Taipei a 14,000-square-meter Internet data center capable of offering gigabit data transfer speeds. "It is going to be a very competitive business at least throughout the first half of next year," said Thomas Hutchison, an analyst at the Taipei branch of Nomura Securities Co. Ltd.

Chunghwa Telecom is also expected to take advantage of the stakes it holds in several major undersea cables connecting Taiwan with the Asia-Pacific region to expand the reach of its services, particularly into overseas Chinese markets.

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