China builds first-ever underwater data center | Inquirer Technology

China builds first-ever underwater data center

09:59 AM December 04, 2023

China is building the world’s first underwater data center to save on space and energy consumption. China Central Television (CCTV) said the country will put 100 data center blocks under the sea by 2025 to save on construction space. Moreover, submerging the facility will take advantage of the ocean as a natural coolant. 

China has grand ambitions to dominate future artificial intelligence and robotics development. That is why the Red Dragon is building a data center underwater as one of the foundations of its lofty goals. Its interesting solution could be a greener alternative to existing data management technologies, which may lead to more life-changing innovations.

This article will discuss why and how China will construct an underwater data center. Then, I will cover the country’s long-term digitalization goals. 


What is the underwater data center’s purpose?

Purpose of underwater data center explained – optimizing cooling, energy efficiency, and data storage.
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TechRadar said China planned this facility to meet the growing demand for cloud services, data processing, and generative AI. That is why it needs more data centers.


However, there are two problems with building them on land. First, China needs 100 data center blocks by 2025, which will occupy nearly 68,000 square meters or 732,000 square feet of construction space.

ScienceAlert says that is the equivalent of 13 football fields, which could serve other purposes. Second, these facilities will consume 122 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of 160,000 Chinese citizens.

That is why China’s private companies and the government will build the Hainan Undersea Data Center off Sanya Coast in Hainan province. Tom’s Hardware says they will install a hundred units over five years. 

Each block weighs 1,300 tons, which is the equivalent of 1,000 automobiles. They have the processing power of 60,000 of the best desktop PCs on the market, allowing them to process more than four million HD images in 30 seconds. 

Installing underwater data centers saves on land construction. Moreover, submerging these facilities enables them to use freezing seawater as a natural coolant.

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It could cancel out the enormous amounts of heat generated by this equipment. Even better, it reduces operating costs because they would not need to have advanced cooling systems.

Pu Ding, the general manager of the UDC Hainan pilot development project, asserted that the completed data center would be between 40% and 60% more power efficient than land-based data centers. Also, the underwater data center will cost roughly $879 million.

ScienceAlert says we do not know how China plans to power these equipment. Also, we must observe the facility for potential impacts on marine ecosystems.

What are China’s long-term digital goals?

Most focus on OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Starlink’s robots. Little do they know that the other side of the world is developing more powerful innovations! For example, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said the country will mass-produce humanoid robots by 2025.

It is part of the “Guiding Opinions on the Innovation and Development of Humanoid Robots.” It starts with President Xi Jinping’s vision for Chinese robot innovation.

He said it is necessary to “promote industrial innovation with scientific and technological innovation, actively cultivate strategic emerging industries such as new energy, new materials…”

“…advanced manufacturing and electronic information actively cultivate future industries, accelerate the formation of new productive forces, and enhance new momentum for development.”

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China expects humanoid robots to be as disruptive as computers, smartphones, and artificial intelligence. It may have shortcomings, but the nation wants to improve and lead robotics innovation soon.

It will follow three goals called “Guiding Opinions” to reach its lofty ambitions. By 2025, the Asian nation will develop a humanoid robot innovation system that will create a “brain, cerebellum, and limbs” for its automatons.

  • Brain: It involves the AI models that will enhance Chinese robot perception, behavioral control, and human-computer interaction.
  • Cerebellum: This part will control the movement of humanoid robots, build a motion control algorithm library, and establish a network control system architecture.
  • Limbs: Also, the country will develop breakthroughs in technologies like lightweight bones, high-strength body structures, and high-precision sensing.


China will install the world’s first commercial underwater data center by 2025. As a result, the country could meet its growing data processing demand.

It would provide the processing power required by its AI and robotics projects. Moreover, the facility will save on land space and energy consumption.

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The Hainan Undersea Data Center will be operational by 2025. Learn more about the latest digital tips and trends at Inquirer Tech.


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