by Nicole Henderson on June 2, 2014

IBM opened up a new SoftLayer data center in Hong Kong over the weekend, a month later than the company expected after a slight delay in approval from the Chinese government.

The SoftLayer data center in Hong Kong is the first of 15 data centers IBM will open as part of its $1.2 billion investment to extend its cloud services around the world.

“Our expansion into Hong Kong gives us a stronger Asian market presence as well as added proximity and access to our growing customer base in region,” Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer said. “This new data center gives the fast-growing, entrepreneurial businesses that Hong Kong is known for a local facility to tap into SoftLayer’s complete portfolio of cloud services.”

SoftLayer already had a strong presence in Asia through Hong Kong and Singapore. Prior to IBM, SoftLayer’s Asian operations were headquartered in Singapore, and the company opened its Singapore data center in the fall of 2011, expanding its network to Tokyo and Hong Kong. SoftLayer cloud customers in Asia include website security provider Distil Networks, online booking agency and digital advertising platform

SoftLayer’s Hong Kong data center has capacity for more than 15,000 physical servers and network connectivity provided by multiple Tier 1 carriers including NTT, Tata, and Equinix.

Hong Kong is a popular destination for cloud computing companies looking to serve Asian customers due to its connectivity and location within China. Most recently, Alibaba’s cloud division, Aliyun, opened a data center in Hong Kong, its first in mainland China.

As SoftLayer begins taking cloud orders for its new data center in Hong Kong, its parent company IBM is facing some challenges in China as a new initiative is reviewing whether its domestic banks reliance on servers from IBM is a compromise to national financial security.