PwC and Hong Kong’s HKBN Enterprise Solutions join hands to Help SMEs combat cyberattacks

PwC Hong Kong and Hong Kong-based IT solutions firm HKBN Enterprise Solutions (HKBNES) have announced a partnership that will help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the island combat growing cybersecurity attacks.

Both companies have reached an agreement whereby HKBNES will provide the Big Four accounting firm a full range of cybersecurity services, including vulnerability assessment, phishing simulation, 7×24 SOC security monitoring, 7×24 remediation management to next-generation managed detection and response (MDR) services.

Kok Tin Gan, Cybersecurity and Privacy Partner at PwC Hong Kong said that the company is “excited” to be offered HKBNES’ suite of services.

“I am confident that PwC and HKBNES will co-solve the SMEs owners’ pain points by empowering more local businesses to enhance their cybersecurity readiness, helping them to build sustainable work modes and sail safe through the rough seas,” he added.

With a clientele of over 100,000 companies, Danny Li, Co-owner and Chief Technology Officer at HKBNES said that the company is here to massively scale its combined strengths with PwC.

“We’re proud to join hands with a world-class partner to bring SMEs a stack of best-in-class, enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions at affordable rates, so that companies of all sizes can mount adequate security responses as they venture into an increasingly digitised brave new world,” he continued.

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Exclusive Insight into Hong Kong’s Datacenter Market: 2021 and Beyond

Hong Kong’s well-established financial and logistics industries are critical components that support the surrounding economy on both a city-wide and regional scale. Its excellent ICT networks position Hong Kong at a crucial juncture between Asia Pacific and the rest of the world, and it is a proven early adopter of technologies like 5G and GBPS Broadband. 

But underpinning these fast-moving businesses and systems are Hong Kong’s datacenters, a robust backbone to Hong Kong’s expansive digital infrastructure.  The digital transformation opportunities enabled by these datacenters is forecasted to add US$9 billion to Hong Kong’s GDP in the next three years–a year on year increase of 0.5 percent.

It’s important to look at the future of the Hong Kong market with a special focus on the heart of its data ecosystem: the data centers themselves. Our upcoming webinar “Hong Kong Datacenters: Market Insights 2021” will provide an unrivalled look into this dynamic market. 

Alex Perkins, Chief Development Officer for Status Data Centers and one of the featured panelists for the show, states:

“Hong Kong is one of the key established data centre markets in Asia Pacific, thriving on the excellent telecommunications networks linking Asia Pacific with the globe.  Being at the forefront of mobile networks connectivity with 5G mobile networks and Gbps broadband as a standard, HK has always been an early adopter of new technologies.”

Upon further reflection of this market,  Perkins went on to highlight the COVID-19 pandemic as a key accelerating factor. Hong Kong companies increased their rate of adoption of cloud computing platforms by 40 percent. In this same time frame, the Media and Entertainment data share has skyrocketed, with social media usage and gaming each up by around 35 percent and video streaming up by 50 percent.

This data boom is most acutely felt in the retail sphere, with e-commerce replacing brick-and-mortar spaces, and Hong Kongers quickly catching up to their mainland counterparts in China when it comes to digital wallet adoption.

 

How does this impact the Datacenter market?

These compounding factors have dramatically driven up demand for datacenters all over the world. In Hong Kong in particular, internet usage has increased 60 percent in the past twelve months. As Perkins explains:

“This has led to limited available capacity in the existing market, especially for larger demand of 2-5MW where options are limited, although major new projects coming to the market from 2021 should alleviate some of those issues.”

Regarding the scope and scale of these “major new projects”, Perkins admits that “Whether this satiates the need for the hyperscale players remains to be seen”, although he notes that “larger sites in TKO and Shatin may do that, however the price point will be key to attracting the big players for the longer term.”

Ultimately, Perkins notes, “The market is looking up.”

 

Learn More

W.Media’s “Hong Kong Datacenters: Market Insights 2021” series will focus on HK’s datacenter market: its business prospects, technological breakthroughs, and future trends. Registration is free. Our speakers will be discussing the commercial real estate outlook, cloud adoption in SME’s, and strengthening the market’s resilience.

Join us on Wednesday, 3rd February from 10.00am – 11.30 am for 90 minutes of invigorating conversation with Alex Perkins as well as other esteemed experts.

HGC brings hyperscale fiber optic network to data center in Hong Kong

Internet service provider HGC Global Communications (HGC) has announced that its hyperscale-focused fiber optic network is now available at AirTrunk’s latest hyperscale data center in Hong Kong.

Also based in Hong Kong, HGC will see its fiber optic network link said data center to not only other data centers in the island, but also to others in the Asia Pacific region.

The data center in question is owned and operated by Sydney data center company AirTrunk. Named HKG1, the facility opened its doors in December 2020 near Tsuen Wan, an important hub for international connectivity in Hong Kong.

“With state-of-the-art network infrastructure, far-reaching connectivity and software-based capability, HGC is well positioned to capture widespread market opportunities arising in the digital economy,” said Thomas Lee, Assistant Vice President of Global Carrier Data, International Business at HGC.

Hong Kong’s data center market to grow bigger

The availability of HGC’s high-speed network to AirTrunk’s data center illustrates Hong Kong’s status as a global financial and technology hub. Cloud and data center consulting firm Structure Research estimates that the Hong Kong data center market will reach a value of $1.7 billion by 2023.

How a HSBC data center in Hong Kong has figured out a smart way to cut carbon emissions

HSBC has installed solar panels to its data center facility in Hong Kong as part of its strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

The Multinational financial giant has installed 750 solar panels in HSBC’s data center in Tseung Kwan O, southeast from Hong Kong’s Central District. They are designed to generate about 221,000 Kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 54 homes, HSBC said.

The panels, spanning 2,300 square meters on the data center’s rooftop, will also be able to generate revenue for HSBC via a feed-in tariff.

“Businesses can play a key role in tackling climate change, including the decisions we make about our premises. We look forward to replicating this success in Tseung Kwan O across our facilities in Hong Kong,” said Luanne Lim, Chief Operating Officer of HSBC Hong Kong.

This installation is expected to cut 108,000 kg worth of carbon for HSBC, which will help with the company’s plan to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

These developments come in the backdrop of increasing pressure to adopt renewable energy, to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change issues. Almost a year back, Goldman Sachs has ruled out direct finance for new or expanding thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide, as well as direct finance for new Arctic oil exploration and production. While other major U.S. banks have committed to reducing credit exposure to coal mining, their approach restricts only lending, ignoring the large amounts of capital the banks facilitate for the coal industry from the underwriting of issuances of stocks and bonds.

Activists have been vehement in their criticism of global financial institutions, which they say are turning a blind eye and undermining the Paris Agreement when it comes to phasing out coal-based energy production.

According to a research by non profit organisations like Urgewald, BankTrack and 30 others, banks and other financial institutions from January 2017 to September 2019, they have provided lending finance and underwriting services to 258 coal plant developers in the world. According to Heffa Schuecking, director of Urgewald, this has amounted to channeling $745 billion.

Jason Opeña Disterhoft, Climate and Energy Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network (RAN), said that Goldman Sachs’s updated policy shows that U.S. banks can draw red lines on oil and gas, and now other major U.S. banks, especially JPMorgan Chase –– the world’s worst banker of fossil fuels by a wide margin –– must improve on what Goldman has done.

“The writing was already on the wall for coal financing. Goldman Sachs’s new policy puts that writing in flashing neon,” he pointed out.

ESR eying a foray into data center biz

ESR, a leading logistics real estate platform listed in Hong Kong is planning a foray into the data center business on the back of a successful Real Estate Investment Trusts listing.

A REIT is a company that owns and operates real estate properties. On December 23, Shares began trading in South Korea’s first dedicated logistics REIT, which debuted with a $650 million Initial Public Offering (IPO).

ESR Kendall Square is the Korea platform for ESR, a Hong Kong listed global logistics real estate investment company. ESR is a leading logistics real estate platform with a network spanning across the People’s Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and India. ESR Kendall Square consists of Kendall Square Logistics Properties, Kendall Square Asset Management and Kendall Square REIT Management, established in 2014, 2016 and 2020 respectively.

The company is also looking to make a foray in the data centre segment too as it has its expertise in developing logistics projects would come in handy for building data centers, according to sources in the know.

“With the robust growth of e-commerce driven by a confluence of factors including the pandemic, public investors have shown a growing appetite for quality core assets that can generate stable, long-term returns. The successful listing of ESR Kendall Square REIT is a testament to the strong portfolios of quality assets, investors and tenants that our team has built through the years,” said Thomas Nam, CEO, ESR Kendall Square.

Long-term investors see huge opportunities in REITs. Among the institutions buying into the ESR Kendall Square REIT pre-IPO were Canadian pension fund Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Seoul-based Military Mutual Aid Association, the Industrial Bank of Korea and the Korean Reinsurance Company.

Even in other markets, REITs have had initial success. Recently, Embassy Office Parks REIT backed by Blackstone and the Mindspace REIT also backed by Blackstone and real estate developer K Raheja Corp are the current players in this segment in India. The success of this investment vehicle has instilled confidence in other developers and investors, primarily with a commercial office portfolio, to list their assets under a REIT platform.

Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, an American commercial real estate services company which provides investment management services estimates that 270 million sq. ft. of office space would be eligible for REIT which translates to a potential investment of $33 billion. “Some of the key factors for the success of REIT are strong developer credentials combined with positive outlook for Commercial real estate, an established portfolio which ensures stability of returns via rental income.

Post the IPO, ESR Kendall Square REIT will be using the proceeds to purchase 11 stabilised logistics assets in the Greater Seoul and Busan areas, both through direct acquisitions and through buying out private funds managed by ESR Kendall Square.

Currently, ESR Kendall manages $7 billion in assets in Korea, across a portfolio of 684,095 square metres (7.4 million square feet). Ten of the properties have already been acquired, with an eleventh to be purchased by June.

SAP to lead digital transformation of Hong Kong’s iconic Ocean Park

SAP has revealed it will continue to support Hong Kong’s iconic tourist attraction, Ocean Park, in its digital transformation journey.

Going forward with the 11-year partnership, SAP will provide Ocean Park with their enterprise resource planning solution and SAP SuccessFactors, its cloud-based SaaS platform for human resource management.

“All businesses today are facing extreme challenges and an increasingly complex digital landscape. Organisations like Ocean Park that are transforming for the digital age by keeping their people at the centre of all of their decisions are the most agile and effective,” said Fabian Padilla Crisol, Managing Director of SAP Hong Kong.

The SAP ERP solution was used as a catalyst for cultural change at Ocean Park to connect their entire organisation and share information on a single centralised platform.

“When everyone has access to a wealth of neutral and unbiased information, we get better insights and can make better decisions. Tying this into our SuccessFactors platform helps us keep employees motivated, engaged and at the heart of everything we do,” said Mimi Fu, the Executive Director of Human Resources at Ocean Park.

Ocean Park currently runs SAP’s SuccessFactors Performance and Goals solution, and SAP’s Learning Management System. Added integration of SAP’s services is expected to increase the Park’s productivity, efficiency, and customer engagement. 

SAP SuccessFactors is one of the largest cloud-based HRM software providers in the world. Over 7,000 customers from 200 regions use SuccessFactors in their day-to-day HR operations.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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PCCW launches Internet on-demand service on Console Connect

Hong Kong’s PCCW Global has announced the launch of a brand new Internet On-Demand (IO-D) service on its Console Connect platform.

The IO-D service uses Console Connect’s Software-Defined Interconnection technology to allow users to connect to major public cloud platforms, including Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and more.

“Console Connect is reimagining how customers experience popular and trusted network services. With Console Connect Internet On-Demand, we have put businesses in the driving seat with high-performance global Internet connectivity, giving them control over one of the world’s largest, fastest and best-connected networks,” said Michael Glynn, the Vice President of Digital Automated Innovation at PCCW Global.

The new service high-performance Internet access across the same global tier 1 IP network relied upon by the world’s largest content and hyperscale cloud providers, ISPs and MNOs. It is also capable of carrying more than 14 Tbps of web traffic with extensive global peering, a process where two or more networks on the internet connect and exchange traffic.

The new IO-D service also offers low latency, allowing Console Connect’s users to not only carry performance-sensitive data, but also meet the high-volume demands of sectors such as government, finance, and gaming.

This could add to the exciting future of the data center industry, as the Console Connect platform is already available in more than 400 data centers across 47 countries.

Data centers across Europe, Asia, and North America can now access the new IO-D service, while other locations and new features will be added in 2021.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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NTT launches new private cloud for enterprises in Singapore and Hong Kong

NTT announced the launch of a new Private Cloud for Enterprise service in Hong Kong and Singapore today to help clients meet growing demands in their digital transformation journeys.

The new service is a core component of the global technology services provider’s Intelligent Data Center and hybrid cloud capabilities.

“Enterprises today are using various applications with a large amount of data stored in various platforms and they want to manage their hybrid IT securely,” said Masaaki Moribayashi, the Senior Executive Vice President of Services for NTT Ltd.

Hybrid IT and cloud adoption is becoming more and more essential in enabling business growth and digital transformation by bringing benefits like greater scalability, cost efficiency and security. This has resulted in the Hybrid Cloud market rising from a value of US$45.70 billion in 2019 to an estimated US$128 billion by 2025.

“Our Private Cloud service will specifically target high growth sectors supporting clients to manage their critical applications, including SAP, to enhance the agility and flexibility in securely managing large volumes of data in the cloud,” added Mr. Moribayashi.

The private cloud market adoption is also growing as part of its role in the hybrid cloud environment, as enterprises recognise how private cloud can support key security, governance, performance and regulatory compliance requirements.

“Financial clients can quickly develop new businesses by incorporating the latest technologies while complying with security regulation in each country. Manufacturers can fuel growth of their business leveraging private cloud to power critical and time-sensitive business operations,” said Mr. Moribayashi.

The new Private Cloud for Enterprise service by NTT in Hong Kong and Singapore will add to their existing coverage in the United States and Europe.

“We are proactive in our development of high-performance software solutions and with Private Cloud for Enterprise, we are able to leverage the most up-to-date technology to deliver enhanced network economics to our customers,” said Ramnik Kamo, the EVP for Global Operations and CIO of Mavenir.

NTT intends to invest further in Hong Kong and Singapore to expand its capabilities to address the market needs for customised and dedicated private cloud deployments.

“Cloud is now recognized broadly by enterprises as a critical part of their IT infrastructure, and a key to enabling transformation strategies. Enterprises should view hybrid cloud as a core, strategic initiative,” said Liam Eagle, the Research Director at 451 Research, which is a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In June, NTT Data, a partially-owned subsidiary of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), also announced an alliance with Microsoft to accelerate enterprise customer’s digital transformation using Microsoft Azure as their preferred cloud solution.

Image credit: Reuters

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Equinix invests US$51m in Hong Kong to support digital transformation demand

Equinix revealed it will invest US$51 million to expand their footprint in Hong Kong and support the growing demand for digital transformation by businesses.

“With more and more companies embracing digital transformation, we have seen demand for interconnection continue to grow,” said Larry Tam, the Managing Director for Equinix Hong Kong.

The acceleration of digital transformation brought by the pandemic as well as the advent of Industry 4.0 technologies like 5G are driving the demand for data centers and interconnection in Hong Kong.

Equinix’s Global Interconnection Index Volume 3 recently revealed that Hong Kong is expected to see the second fastest interconnection bandwidth growth in the region, increasing at 55% CAGR from 2018 to 2022.

A separate survey showed 46% decision-makers in Hong Kong believe interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation, with 45% believing interconnection can help their business gain a competitive advantage. 

The global interconnection and data center company also announced the completed third phase expansion of HK4, one of Equinix’s five International Business Exchange™ data centers in Hong Kong.

The expansion added 1,000 cabinets to the 500 currently stationed at the facility, with a further 3,000 expected to be added in future phases.

Equinix’s current colocation space totals approximately 34,500 square meters in Hong Kong, with the aim of supporting digital edge and business continuity strategies along with digital transformation of local and international enterprises.

Their US$51 million investment in Hong Kong follows a second US$1 billion joint venture with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, to build hyperscale data centers in Japan.

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South Korea’s SK Telink selects Ciena to upgrade transpacific submarine network

South Korean network operator SK Telink has selected network solutions provider Ciena to upgrade its submarine network spanning Seoul, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

The partnership is set to deliver more differentiated customer experiences by implementing Ciena’s Adaptive IP solution to build a converged packet network for SK Telink, paving the way for future IP-based services.

“Our customers are consuming data at breakneck speed, and to keep up, we deployed Ciena to build one of the first packet-based transport networks in a transpacific route,” said Jeongyeol Lee, the Director of ICT Infra Headquarters at SK Telink.

As part of the Adaptive IP solution, SK Telink will leverage Ciena’s 6500 Packet Transport System to lower its office footprint and power consumption.

“As SK Telink prepares for the country’s next wave of digital growth, Ciena’s packet solutions lay the foundation for a network that can respond in real-time to changing demands,” said Henry Kim, the President and General Manager of Ciena North Asia Region.

SK Telink and the America-based Ciena hope the upgraded submarine network will enable the South Korean network operator to achieve new levels of scale, flexibility, and programmability, delivering high-speed Internet and cloud services.