European Ammo Maker’s Growth Stymied By TikTok Data Center Sucking Up Electricity


President Zelensky’s complaints over slowed and stalled rates of ammunition supplies coming into Ukraine from the West have perhaps been “answered” – in a story almost too absurd to be made up.

The “problem” has been uncovered, apparently:

One of Europe’s largest ammunition manufacturers has said efforts to meet surging demand from the war in Ukraine have been stymied by a new TikTok data center that is monopolizing electricity in the region close to its biggest factory.

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The data center in question is located in Norway, but chief executive of Nammo – short for Nordic Ammunition Company – has complained in statements given to FT that his company’s expansion (which is co-owned by the Norwegian government), is currently being prevented by the construction of a new TikTok data center which is going to suck up the area’s electricity. Nammo is among Europe’s biggest ammunition makers.

“We are concerned because we see our future growth is challenged by the storage of cat videos,” CEO Morten Brandtzaeg told the Financial Times.

Given the statement sounds like it could be mere hyperbole, FT sought a statement from the local Norwegian energy company:

Elvia, the local energy company, confirmed that the electricity network had no spare capacity after promising it to the data center as it allocates it on a first come, first served basis.

“If Nammo orders capacity, depending on how much it needs, it will take time before there is available capacity as the transmission network needs to be strengthened,” Elvia said.

The other irony is that Norway is a NATO-member. The emerging frustration and tensions between the state-linked Norwegian ammo maker and TikTok, owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, is already leading to questions of whether this is some kind of intentional scheme linked to China’s geopolitical interests.

Interestingly, Brandtzaeg sees its lack of access to surplus electricity needed for a plant expansion as directly impacting his company’s ability to keep up with demand based on Ukraine’s continuous needs:

Brandtzaeg said demand for artillery rounds was more than 15 times higher than normal. The European ammunition industry needs to invest EUR2bn in new factories just to keep up with the demand from Ukraine, let alone other European countries, according to the Nammo chief executive.

He stressed: “We see an extraordinary demand for our products which we have never seen before in our history.” And more details from FT:

TikTok is building three data centers this year with the option of adding two more by 2025 in Hamar, 25km to the east of Raufoss, Norwegian data centre provider Green Mountain said this month.

Brandtzaeg was asked whether be believes this is all purely coincidental, to which he responded: “I will not rule out that it’s not by pure coincidence that this activity is close to a defense company. I can’t rule it out.” This naturally leads to the question of where else is this happening in Europe?


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