In 2021, Hong Kong was strife with uncertainties- economic and political, even as Covid-19 pandemic continued to ravage lives and businesses, all over the world. This resulted in the city moving out of the top 10 data centre markets in the whole world.
Even as it grappled with these issues, at the heart of it the belief that the city which built itself as one of the largest financial hubs to the whole world will not let it all slip away. This strong-willed resolve – a characteristic of the island nation resulted in a turnaround.
In 2022, Hong Kong made a big jump and moved into the top 10 list, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield. Now it is the third most attractive location for data centres in the Asia-Pacific region, behind Singapore and Sydney. Since its development in 2000, data centres have occupied 8 million square feet in the private market.
Charles Lee, Founder and CEO of OneAsia points out that from 2022-2027, 4 million sq ft of data centre space will come up in Hong Kong. W.Media caught up with Charles Lee for a lengthy chat to find out the current situation in Hong Kong and OneAsia rapid growth outside of Hong Kong and Mainland China.
“The demand is significant- from both mainland China and other places, which want to have a presence in the region, which is well connected to various parts of the world,” he said. Lee, as a data centre pioneer in the last couple of decades has seen some significant shifts – from dot.com, e-commerce to the digitalisation boom now, coupled with China’s companies pledging to achieve carbon neutrality efforts, as outlined by the Chinese government.
One of the shifts seen currently has to do with the approach of data centre operators. Traditionally, operators would get a consent from a client before building out a data centre. Now that logic is turned on its head. “Internet usage has surged, which in turn has pushed up the demand for data centre. In such a scenario, the traditional way is not applicable,” explains Lee.
This data centre buildout is happening at a time when global mandates on sustainability is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ but a ‘need-to-have’.
“Companies have a positive intent with regard to sustainability and everybody in the ecosystem are cognizant of that fact.” Charles Lee, Founder and CEO of OneAsia
Also, data centres are looking at a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.3, which is aligned to the net zero targets of companies.
Reshaping DC Architecture
Nowadays, prefabricated modular data centres have become the industry standard. A modular and prefabricated approach enables simplified delivery, cutting the construction cycle from more than 18 months to less than six months. However, retrofitting legacy data centres with sustainability requirements is not going to be easy, points out Lee.
In the past 3 years, industry watchers are of the view that many players have been entering into mainland China Data Centre market. However, it is not easy. “The key thing is reputation of the data centre company and its track record,” stated Lee.
The China and Hong Kong data center market has witnessed investments from telecommunication, colocation, and hyperscale operators. Some prominent investors in 2021 included 21Vianet (VNET), Shanghai AtHub, Equinix, GDS Services, Chindata Group, Tenglong Holdings Group, Alibaba, and Global Switch, among others.
Want to know more about current hot topics in the industry? The 2nd edition of NEA Digital Week is back this June! This time, with a huge focus on Cloud and Datacenter key trends and technology within North East Asia.