South Korean Internet company Kakao launched a new data center outside Seoul.

The company this week officially launched the new facility in Ansan, Gyeongg. It will host most of the company’s services, including KakaoTalk.

kakao south korea
Kakao's new data center – Kakao

The company's first in-house data center, Kakao Data Center Ansan, is capable of housing 120,000 servers and is located on Hanyang University's Erica campus around 30km south of Seoul, spanning 47,378 sqm (~510,000 sq ft) of data center space.

“A data center is a core asset for Kakao, crucial for the stable operation of the company's numerous services that are pervasive in people's daily lives,” CEO Chung Shin-a told press during a tour of the facility. “We have worked to create the safest data center in South Korea with a strong sense of responsibility.”

The data center partially opened in 2021, but the company officially finished construction in September last year and aimed for a Q1 2024 launch date. It features solar panels on the exterior.

Kakao first announced plans for the data center in 2020, stating at the time that it would be investing around 400 billion won ($336.6m) into building the facility. The motivation for developing an in-house data center was to provide the company with a "stable foundation" for research and development into technology including big data and artificial intelligence, as well as to launch its corporate cloud service.

Kakao experienced a significant outage in October 2022 due to a fire caused by lithium-ion batteries at an SK Group data center. The outage led to a government investigation and police raids and Kakao was required to implement an emergency response system and compensate businesses and users that were impacted by the fire.

The new data center reportedly features a four-step fire extinguishing system designed to automatically put out fires originating from batteries and prevent flames from spreading to other batteries.

CEO Chung said Kakao is also pushing to build its second independent data center with more focus on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in coming years.