TikTok’s take-off fuels hyperscale datacentre spend by parent company ByteDance

Following its meteoric rise to social media prominence, TikTok’s parent company is confirmed as being the world’s seventh-biggest datacentre spender after just three years of expansion

The take-off of video-led social networking giant TikTok has led to its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, being classified as a hyperscale datacentre operator, Synergy Research has confirmed.

The analyst house’s quarterly hyperscale datacentre market tracker data shows that in just three years, ByteDance has risen from obscurity to become the world’s seventh-biggest datacentre spender.

According to Synergy’s second-quarter data, Amazon remains the world’s biggest datacentre investor and spender, followed by Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple.

ByteDance is one of three Chinese players whose datacentre investment and expansion plans have been flagged as noteworthy by Synergy in its second-quarter market tracker, with Alibaba ranked sixth and Tencent eighth in terms of datacentre spend.

“The fact that Amazon, Microsoft and Google continue to account for over half of the world’s installed base of hyperscale datacentres is not really new news,” said John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group.

“However, what we are seeing is a big push from the Chinese hyperscale operators, with a lot of new datacentres being opened. ByteDance is particularly noteworthy as it is virtually a new entrant to the hyperscale scene.

“It was little known three years ago, but has become a major player, thanks in large part to the success of TikTok.”

The short-form video-sharing site has risen to prominence over the past three years, with industry estimates suggesting it currently has almost 690 million active monthly users.

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According to Synergy’s data, China – along with the US – is home to more than half of the world’s hyperscale datacentres, of which there are now 659 in existence as of the end of the second quarter. This is more than double the number that were live and operational in mid-2016.

“The next most popular locations are Japan, Germany, the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland and India, which collectively account for 25% of the total,” said the company in a statement.

According to Dinsdale, Synergy’s data shows that, on average, 16 new datacentres have come online every quarter during the past three years.

“The growth of hyperscale datacentres is pretty much on a straight-line trajectory,” he said. “On top of that new datacentre build, the hyperscale operators are also adding capacity at existing facilities and are regularly ripping out and replacing server hardware that has reached the end of its operational lifespan. That all adds up to huge and growing quarterly investments in datacentres.”

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