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HPE picks Taiwan as 'global strategic hub for next-generation technology'
Came for the people, the supply chain, and with hopes of building new servers, storage, HPC, and 5G kit. Don't mention the increasing geopolitical tension
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has made a big new investment in Taiwan, covering hardware design and supply chain smarts.
The jolly green computing giant on Tuesday designated the island nation a "global strategic hub for next-generation technology", which translates into over 100 hires to existing labs to boost their ability to design servers and storage hardware. HPE says its plans will make the hotly contested country (or rogue province, according to China) its largest hardware design centre outside of the USA.
Billions of dollars will therefore be spent ensuring that HPE's Taiwan outpost has all the kit it needs to design and build new products, and to "focus on driving new innovations and products in market-leading areas like 5G, edge and high-performance computing".
HPE also named Taiwan a "Center of Excellence for Global Supply Chain" without quite explaining what that means.
Jon Wang, the managing director of HPE Taiwan, offered a canned quote: "Taiwan plays a strategic role in facilitating HPE's critical supply chain needs, and our investment in this important market over the last 50 years has continued to expand due to its technology-focused economy, experienced supplier ecosystem and highly skilled people."
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We think that means HPE has realised that lots of stuff it needs gets made in Taiwan, so it's making sure to get close to those important suppliers.
The deal is sufficiently significant that senior Taiwanese politicians have applauded HPE's investment and foresight.
However, the world only has so many places where it makes sense to design enterprise hardware, and not many people with the talent and experience to do the job. HPE is clearly making sure it can operate in one of those places and hire as many people there as it can.
And if that means investing in one of the hotter geopolitical hotspots – China is increasingly aggressive towards Taiwan and says reunification with the island is inevitable, and the USA has made it plain it will intervene in the event of a military dispute – then HPE is clearly prepared to wear the risks involved.
To be fair, if China/Taiwan/US relations degrade to the point at which matters go kinetic, the world probably has more to worry about than whether HPE's server and storage innovations are moving at the hoped-for pace. ®