Tesla builds its own data centre in China

21 April 2021 | Antony Savvas

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Tesla is building a data centre in Shanghai to hold all the data of its Chinese customers in their own country, to comply with Chinese cyber security law.

It's a move that was started about a year ago after some Chinese driver data from the firm's electric vehicles was originally stored on the company's servers in the US. Last year, Tesla China advertised new data roles, including data centre engineers.

The Shanghai data centre will reportedly be completed by the end of this June. Its specifications have so far not been publicly shared and it's not clear as to whether the data centre will be operated through a local partner.

News of the data centre's progress came from Grace Tao, Tesla China's head of communications and government affairs, in an interview she gave to Chinese newspaper 21st Century Business Herald.

Tao confirmed that all customer data collected from Tesla's electric vehicles in China will be stored in the country, according to national law.

There are similar customer data laws in a number of other countries, which is a major reason why cloud service providers are ramping up their data centre builds internationally.

Tesla having all customer data stored in customers' local markets also makes sense in technology terms, as the company is looking to develop local ecosystems with partners using data analytics to further develop its cars and test them - and data proximity is key to deliver safety and project success.