China is assembling the world's first commercial underwater data center off the coast of Sanya, a coastal city south of Hainan Island.
Each data storage unit in the underwater data center can process more than four million high-definition images in 30 seconds, with an estimated performance comparable to approximately 60,000 regular computers.
The first data storage unit was installed in April, and the plan is to install a total of 100 units over five years.
Each data storage unit weighs 1,300 tons and has a longevity of 25 years, designed to withstand natural phenomena.
The underwater data center is expected to be between 40% and 60% more power-efficient than land-based data centers.
The data center will cover 68,000 square meters, utilizing the seabed to potentially save dry land for other purposes.
Significant savings include 122 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 105,000 tons of freshwater annually, as underwater data centers can use freezing seawater for natural cooling.
The project is a joint effort involving the Sanya government, the Hainan Provincial State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, and companies such as Offshore Oil Engineering Company, Beijing Highlander Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen HiCloud, and Beijing Sinnet.
The Hainan Undersea Data Center project was announced in Q1 2021, with an estimated completion date in Q2 2025 and a cost of approximately $879 million.
Other underwater data center projects are also in development in various regions of China, including the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions.