The online platform operator announced late Friday that the selection of the city came after scrutiny and a comprehensive review. The company released the statement about four months after canceling its original plan due to strong opposition from residents to establish the data center in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
Naver said, “Based on opinions of consultants, the management and employees of the company, we chose the location where Sejong City as the preferred bidder, and will discuss the establishment of our data center with the city.”
Naver would start constructing the center during the first half of 2020 if both parties reach an agreement. The date of completion is in the first quarter of 2022.
The internet company wanted to build another data center in Yongin, becoming its second data center after its first data center called GAK in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province. The construction of the second data center is a bid to capitalize on the fast-growing cloud computing market in the country.
The platform operator began looking for new bidders in July after scrapping the plan in June. It chose Sejong, after conducting on-site inspections from October 7 to 18, as its preferred bidder from the ten bidders shortlisted last September.
Naver will invest more than 500 billion won ($427.9 million) for the second data center. The company would use the center for artificial intelligence (AI), high-tech businesses such as fifth-generation (5G) networks, robots, and big data.
Sejong, an administrative city, located 120 kilometers south of Seoul, has its government organizations, research facilities, and state-owned corporations. It welcomed the company’s announcement, saying the administrative city would benefit from the expected economic ripple from the center.
Sejong Mayor Lee Chun-hee said, “I expressed my gratitude to the 34,000 citizens of Sejong for supporting us during the bidding period,” He added in a statement on Saturday. “We will provide all support to Naver so that the company can establish its data center, which provides infrastructure for the high-tech industry, without any issues.”