Vietnam telcos to pilot 5G in An Giang

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of An Giang has been selected as the location for the government’s piloting of 5G services this year.

Located in the southwest of Vietnam, An Giang borders Cambodia and is a significant agricultural center.

State-owned telcos, VNPT and Viettel, will be tasked with launching the service. After conducting commercial 5G trials in major cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has chosen An Giang to boost tourism management and digital infrastructure investment in the province.

The An Giang Provincial People’s Committee said that as of now, all localities in An Giang are covered by 3G, 4G, and mobile broadband.

Viettel and VNPT are two of the largest telecommunications service providers in Vietnam. The former is owned by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence, whereas the latter is owned by the country’s national post office.

In December last year, Viettel launched a 5G commercial trial in Hanoi and VNPT also had the go-ahead to trial 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Cyberattacks cost Vietnam $1 billion in 2020

How costly could cybersecurity threats get?

A recent study by Vietnam’s Bach Khoa Antivirus Center (Bkav) found out that the country suffered a staggering loss of $1 billion (24 trillion Vietnamese Dong) due to cyberattacks.

Carried out in December 2020, the study revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has much to do with the financial loss. As organisations and employees in Vietnam continue to work remotely, due to restrictions placed on travel, as well as social distancing norms, cyber criminals have lapped up this opportunity. They have got into home as well as enterprise devices and have infiltrated, altered, and stole data.

Major e-commerce platforms and banking institutions in Southeast Asia are continuing to be hit hard by cyber threats, with personal information of thousands of users being stolen.

Supply chain attacks on Vietnamese businesses are also common. Such attacks target a product’s manufacturing line by installing hardware-based spying components, resulting in significant financial losses.

On top of that, Bkav’s threat detection system picks up over 15,000 spywares installed in smartphones monthly. These are also to steal sensitive information and private messages from smartphone users in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh wants to stop cybercrime

This is perhaps why Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh has set up a cybercrime division to combat such threats. A real-time malware detector website is also launched to remove any threats immediately.

However, Bkav’s Vice President of Anti-Malware, Vu Ngoc Son, pointed out the existence of fileless malware threats that hide in a system’s configuration parameters. As they leave no sign of presence, they are likely to still threaten many businesses in Vietnam, he said.

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Ho Chi Minh City sets up cybercrime division

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, has just announced the establishment of a new police division to combat cybercrime in the country.

The new division for cybersecurity and high-tech crime will be run by the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department.

According to Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the Municipal People’s Committee, the creation of this department is to ensure cyber safety in Ho Chi Minh as part of the government’s efforts to build a smart city.

Assigned to lead the department is Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen The Lam, who is also Deputy Chief of Staff for the Ho Chi Minh Police.

Cybersecurity in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of several countries in Southeast Asia that is actively working to tackle rising cases of cybercrime. In 2020, the country recorded 5,168 cases of cyberattacks.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications’ National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has been at the forefront of patrolling the cyberspace and removing malware. In December, Vietnam reported 315 cases of cyberattacks, but this figure was a 54.48 percent decrease from the previous month of November.

In October 2020, the NCSC also launched a real-time malware review site to monitor cyberthreat activity across Vietnam.

Vietnam’s top telco gives itself a makeover to attract young consumers

Vietnam’s leading telecommunications provider, Viettel, plans to rid itself of its ‘trustworthy but old-fashioned’ image in a bid to attract the attention of the young Vietnamese consumers.

As part of a major rebranding effort, the mobile carrier will be expanding its range of products and services, and start selling next-generation digital services, such as cloud computing and cybersecurity packages.

Viettel’s years-old orange and green logo has been replaced with a brand new, striking red icon that also symbolises the colour of Vietnam’s national flag.

According to Mr. Le Dang Dung, Acting President and General Director of Viettel Group, the launch of a new identity shows Viettel’s commitment to maintaining itself as the country’s pioneering and leading digital services provider.

The company’s slogan, originally “Say it your way”, is now “Your way”. The first two words have been truncated for a shorter slogan that conveys flexibility.

On top of that, Viettel will also be expanding its businesses into six tech-related sectors: digital infrastructure, solutions, content, financial services, cybersecurity, and research and development.

Founded in 1989 and owned by the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence, Viettel currently serves four out of ten Vietnamese consumers. Besides Vietnam, Viettel also provides mobile services in 11 countries including neighbouring Cambodia and Myanmar, and Haiti, Peru and Tanzania.

Vietnam’s telco boom

The Vietnamese telecommunications market is a booming market with huge opportunities for local and foreign investors, amid a competitive environment and a positive economic outlook with an average growth of 6-8% GDP expected between 2020 and 2025. With already strong mobile phone penetration and emerging fixed broadband take-up in households, future growth is likely to remain solid despite an aging population over the long term.

Idem Est Research forecasts that mobile subscriptions will continue to grow in the 2019-25 period and fixed broadband subscribers will also continue to grow and increase its household penetration over the same period.

Mobile revenue is growing faster than mobile subscription numbers leading to ARPU growth as the market transitions from 2G & 3G to 4G mobile data services.

Idem Est Research expects the overall telecoms market to grow through to 2025 after a marked slow down in 2018 and 2019 due to legacy 2G voice & SMS revenue pressure partially offset by mobile data growth.

Mobile Subscribers and Revenue


In early 2020, the mobile subscriptions market just passed a tipping point with 3G and 4G subscribers exceeding 2G mobile subscriptions for the first time. Mobile network operators are facing competitive pressure with the market shifting from legacy prepaid voice and SMS to data-centric usage increasingly becoming the sole offering differentiator.

Further, the Capex to GDP ratio remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2018 but has been sliding in 2019 and is expected to remain at the same level through to 2025. Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone invested in line with revenue growth maintaining a stable Capex to Sales Ratio.

Delta POD solution enables Vietnam’s first Uptime Tier III data center for Hanoi Telecom’s HTC-ITC

Delta Electronics has successfully implemented their energy saving Point of Delivery solution to enable Vietnam’s first Uptime TCCF Tier III-certified data center.

The data center is owned and operated by HTC-ITC, a subsidiary of Hanoi Telecom. It is located at the Hoa Lac High-Tech Zone, in Hanoi’s capital region, occupying 750 square meters of space.

The data center has an annual uptime of 99.98% and is expected to achieve a power use effectiveness value of 1.4.

“Being able to construct the country’s first Uptime TIER III-certified data center for HTC-ITC is truly an honor for Delta. Together with our partners and customers in the region, we are building the foundations of the 5G networks that will support substantial economic growth for years to come,” said Victor Cheng, Delta’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Information Communication Technology Infrastructure Business Group.

The new data center is located in the Hoa Lac High-Tech Zone, occupying 750 square meters with a total power capacity of 750kW plus 750kW redundant power protection, which is in line with Uptime’s TIER III 2N architecture specifications. In total, the facility can expand to 900 racks.

HTC-ITC passed 52 tests to obtain the TCCF certification, the first time ever for a data center in Vietnam.

Trinh Minh Chau, the Chairwoman of HTC-ITC, expressed delight at the collaboration with Delta.

Vietnam’s Viettel becomes first 5G carrier in the country

Viettel, Vietnam’s leading telecommunications operator, has become the first in the country to launch 5G for customers.

Viettel users in Vietnam’s Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, and Hai Ba Trung Districts in Hanoi can now enjoy high-speed 5G Internet without a SIM card upgrade.

“Similar to the previous universalisation of cell phones in Vietnam, Viettel, as Vietnam’s largest telecommunications and IT enterprise, will continue to pioneer the creation of a digital society,” said Major General Le Dang Dung, Chairman-cum-General Director of Viettel Group.

The company says that its 5G can reach up to 1.2 to 1.5 Gbps in speed, ten times faster than 4G, and is currently the fastest in Vietnam. This means that users are able to download a 90-minute movie in 30 seconds.

With 5G real-time connectivity, the technology is also expected to make an important contribution to remote medical examination, treatment and surgery in Vietnam.

“The cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure is a must for Industry 4.0,” he added.

Viettel’s 5G base transceiver stations use Non-Standalone Access (NSA) architecture, which is a technology that builds on 4G and allows operators to launch 5G early. 

Typically, when 5G is successfully trialled or rolled out, operators will then transition into Standalone Access (SA) technology.

NSA is also currently being used by major telcos in other countries, such as South Korea’s SK Telecom and KT, Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK.

“Viettel Group has completed the ecosystem from digital infrastructure, digital solutions, digital finance, digital content, logistics and e-commerce, so far, meeting the needs of building e-government and developing digital economy and digital society in Vietnam,” he said.

After Hanoi, Viettel’s 5G will be expanded into Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh. During the trial period, Viettel will provide unlimited 5G data free of charge.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Vietnam’s TPBank says goodbye to legacy technology to become digital-first with Backbase

Vietnam’s Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) has joined forces to accelerate their digital transformation and say goodbye to their legacy banking systems with the help of Backbase.

Backbase, a Netherlands-based digital banking software provider, transitioned TPBank to an omni-channel digital platform, enabling agility and scalability for the next generation of digital banking where a cashless society could be made possible.

“Technology is the critical driver in transforming our bank and ensuring we stay ahead of the competition in the next digital banking revolution,” said Nguyen Hung, the CEO of TPBank.

The birth of a digital bank in nine months

The bank transformed its decade-old mobile and Internet banking system in nine months, migrating nearly three million customers to the new platform.

“Now more so than ever, banks need to respond swiftly to greater customer expectations while implementing digital transformation with minimal disruptions to remain competitive in the current marketplace,” said Riddhi Dutta, the Regional Head for ASEAN and India at Backbase.

Backbase’s digital banking architecture runs either on-premise, in a Platform-as-a-Service setup or fully cloud native.

“Legacy channels and outdated core systems are cumbersome and one of the factors which hinders banks from scaling at a pace that keeps up with evolving customer demands,” added Mr. Dutta.

Thanks to their work with Backbase, TPBank saw success in its digital transformation efforts by being recognised as the ‘Best Digital Bank’ at the The Asian Banker Vietnam Country Awards 2020.

Elsewhere in the banking industry, India’s largest bank introduced digitally transformed their payment system to 440 million customers using ACI architecture and DBS Bank in Singapore joined forces with AWS to digitally transform 3,000 staff with AI training.

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Image credit: TPBank

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Vietnam Government keeps pushing forward digital transformation with Viettel and FPT partnerships

The Vietnam Government continues to push forward with their digital transformation efforts, empowered by partnerships with Viettel and FPT.

As part of their Made-in-Vietnam initiatives, the military-run telecoms group launched an artificial intelligence platform known as the Viettel AI Open Platform.

The platform will provide technologies and organisations using AI with help to automate, optimise and efficiently operate, focusing on areas like speech processing, natural language processing and computer vision.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyen Thanh Hung, described the Industry 4.0 technology as the heart of digital transformation, which is fundamentally changing production around the world.

Nguyen Manh Quy, the Director of Viettel Cyberspace Centre, announced the platform will be free for individuals and businesses that registered during its application development phase to strengthen research cooperation and boost the national digital transformation programme.

Speeding up digital transformation with homegrown blockchain

Early last month, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications also launched akaChain, an enterprise blockchain platform developed by FPT Software, a leading IT firm in the country.

The platform is one of few Made-in-Vietnam initiatives hand-picked by the Government to accelerate their digital transformation efforts in the public and private sectors.

“As COVID-19 looms large, it is more important than ever to take their business online,” said Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung.

Despite the common association with cryptocurrency, akaChain platform is expected to help businesses speed up their transformation processes through blockchain applications like electronic Know Your Customer, credit scoring, loyalty programs and traceability.

“From retail, supply chain, to financial services, blockchain applications have moved beyond cryptocurrencies,” said Tran Dang Hoa, FPT Software’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Establised in 2018, the platform is built on Hyperledger Fabric, which acts as the foundation for developing applications with transparency and ease – a demand of digital businesses requiring speed to market.

“We are excited to be part of the national digital transformation program and help the Vietnamese Government to build early foundations for a digital economy, digital society, and e-Government,” Mr. Tran added.

FPT Software is now working on another solution to develop Digital IDs based on the akaChain platform to enable easier and faster ways to prove one’s identity, which is becoming increasingly important for contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Vietnam sets aggressive digital transformation ambitions to become global powerhouse

With the entire ASEAN region hit hard by the global pandemic, the Vietnam Government has set aggressive digital transformation ambitions to become a global powerhouse.

The Ministry of Information and Communications introduced eight core programs for the next five years.

“The ICT industry can create a pair of wings for the country to fly. One wing is digital technology and the other is communication,” said Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, adding that if a country wants to develop and make breakthroughs, it needs spiritual strength.

The core programs look to transform Vietnam’s postal system and telecommunications infrastructure to promote the country’s digital economy. This will include deploying 5G, having one smartphone per person, one fiber-optic line per household as well as cloud infrastructure, artificial intelligence, digital identity platforms and the Internet of Things for industries.

To drive this innovation, Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Information and Communications has signed an agreement with the US Trade and Development Agency to provide technical assistance for the building of a smart city operations center. 

With a total investment of more than US$1.4 million, this center is among four pillars in a master plan to transform Vietnam’s southern economic hub, which will act as the ‘brain’ of a smart city to collect and analyse real-time data and information to help decision-makers govern, plan, and shape the future development of the city.

The core programs will also focus on transforming Vietnam’s e-government to a digital government where all activities will be performed digitally and create more interaction between the Vietnamese population and the state. To achieve this, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc urged ministries to have 30% of their online public services reach level 4 by the end of this year.

Public service level 4 allows users to fill in and send application forms to committees entirely online, however many ministries and localities have less than 10% of their public services online.

The Ministry of Information and Communications proposed increasing local budget spending on information and technology from the current rate of 0.3% to at least 1% to promote the e-Government.

The said transformation efforts are to be promoted by all as ‘a revolution of the whole nation’ and will go hand in hand with the protection of digital sovereignty by its people and the media.

As digital transformation projects can expose vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers and threat actors, the Government intends to turn Vietnam into a cybersecurity powerhouse by mastering the ecosystem of cybersecurity products.

As of 2019, Vietnam ranked 50th in the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) global cybersecurity index rankings, rising sharply from 100 in 2017.

‘Make in Vietnam’ to boost digital ambitions

Included in the Ministry’s core programs is the ‘Make in Vietnam’ initiative, which aims to promote the domestic ICT industry where digital products are birthed in the country.

There are currently 50,000 technology businesses in Vietnam, with many solutions being produced by young enterprises and experts. And the country has big ambitions to double this number to 100,000 by 2030, which will account for 20% of the GDP.

Last year, the total revenue of the whole ICT industry was estimated at nearly US$135 billion, more than double compared to 2015. The sector also contributed over US$4.3 billion to the state budget.

In a draft strategy by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Government has set ambitions to be placed in the top two countries in ASEAN and within the top 50 in the world for technology and innovation by 2030.

The Ministry said hitting these targets would be challenging, given the country’s heavy dependence for core technology on foreign countries, the low added value of IT products and limited innovation capacity and competitiveness, together with increasing competition from international IT companies.

To overcome these challenges, the first solution is to improve the legal framework to create a favourable environment for digital technology companies. The country will also focus on strengthening research and development capacity, developing a robust market for digital technology companies, and building a data industry and digital technology ecosystem.

The second solution is to work with other nations in the ASEAN region to bounce back strongly from the pandemic using digital technologies. For example, Vietnam is seeking experience from Indonesia in digitalisation and how to enact relevant policies.

“With its great potential in IT, Vietnam is sharing experiences and also learning lessons from other regional nations to develop itself into a veritable digital economy and the ASEAN into a big digital economy. This will help the ASEAN address emerging challenges,” said an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Vietnam’s efforts to develop a pro-business e-government and a digital economy have received applause from the international community, especially amid a surge in the pandemic hurting economic growth.

Uncover the importance of interconnectivity with W.Media

Interconnectivity in data centers has accelerated, as the need for connected devices and digital transformation is rapidly rising.

For a region like Asia Pacific that is rapidly going digital, data center providers are working hard to design connected platforms that enable global teams to collaborate with less downtime and latency.

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Vietnam’s agriculture industry is looking sweeter as top sugar manufacturer moves to the cloud

SBT, a top performer in Vietnam’s sugar industry, has adopted Oracle Cloud ERP to support its mission in globally producing clean agriculture products.

The agriculture corporation chose to adopt Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning to optimise their supply chain and improve financial management efficiency.

“Our goal is to lead smart agricultural development in Vietnam within the next three years,” said Dang Huynh Uc My, Vice Chairman for the Board of Directors at SBT.

SBT, also known as Thanh Thanh Cong Bien Hoa Joint Stock Company, will implement Oracle Cloud ERP across their business units in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Singapore.

“SBT will continue to align our in-depth agricultural experience and skilled manpower with smart technologies,” added Ms. Dang.

The sugar manufacturer looks to meet its goal of harmonising the interests of farmers, factories and customers by implementing Farmer Relationship Management, Customer Relationship Management and eOffice applications whilst remaining compliant with current regulations.

“The agriculture industry in Vietnam is on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, with digital transformation leading the way for businesses like SBT to realise their goals,” said Nguyen Thi Mai Hoa, the Head of Applications at Oracle Vietnam.

Vietnam’s digital economy grew by 40% in 2019 and could add US$162 billion to its GDP by going digital. The Government is also supporting digital transformation campaigns by increasing investment, speeding up reforms encouraging businesses to adopt new technology, committing to building smart cities and providing universal internet connectivity.

“However, today’s business climate remains unpredictable. To better respond to changing market conditions, organizations can’t be held back by disparate on-premise business systems – they need to have a clear view of their business on a single data platform,” added Mr. Nguyen.

Along with their partnership with Oracle, SBT reached a strategic cooperation agreement with KPMG Vietnam to drive forward their digital transformation plans.

SBT was also named as one of the top 50 leading brands in 2020 and in the list of 100 largest public companies by Forbes Vietnam.

Picture credit: Idan Robbins

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Vietnam sets ambitious plans to become a digital society and develop the IT sector

The Vietnam Government is looking to become a digital society by experimenting with new technologies and setting a target of having 10 big IT businesses with revenues of over US$1 billion.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, approved the National Digital Transformation Programme, which strives to completely renovate Government operations and stimulate a digital economy by 2030.

Developing a truly digital society in Vietnam

The Vietnam Government believes to truly achieve a digital society, access to Internet and mobile networks must be accessible by all communities. 

Plans have been developed to provide fiber optic network infrastructure reaching out to more than 80% of households and 100% of communes nationwide by 2025.

The Government also aims to make 4G and 5G mobile network services and smartphones universally accessible as well as enable an Internet of Things infrastructure.

> Discover the best digital infrastructures to enable your digital transformation needs

Vietnam is predicted to be amongst the top 50 countries in the information and communication technology development index within the next five years as well as ranking in the top 50 for global competitiveness and top 35 for global innovation.

As a result, the digital economy is forecast to make up 20% of Vietnam’s GDP.

Vietnam empowers local businesses to become global leaders

Currently, Vietnam has a large number of domestic enterprises, but 99% are small in size and have a limited ability to participate or compete in the global value chain.

The Ministry of Information and Communication rushed to build a draft decision to approve an IT development programme by 2025 with a vision to have 10 big businesses that are able to compete internationally and achieve a revenue of over US$1 billion.

Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, Deputy Head of the Ministry’s Information and Technology Department, said the programme aimed to make Vietnam’s IT industry a big economic sector with rapid and sustainable growth, based on achievements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

With a target of 50,000 IT and telecom firms in the country, the sector would provide momentum for the country’s digitalisation and digital economy.

The Ministry hopes the revenue growth of the IT sector would be double the country’s GDP growth, but right now 98% of total export revenue comes from Foreign Direct Investment.

To achieve this, local businesses must master software and IT services by 90% of products and solutions for e-government construction, digital transformation, transport and smart agriculture.

A software park in Hanoi’s Long Bien District is being constructed to enable this. Tran Van Dung, Vice Chairman of Tien Giang Province People’s Committee, also plans to build a software park in Mekong to to attract human resource for the IT sector

While in the hardware sector, the programme aims to have domestic IT firms produce equipment for 5G networks.

The programme also looks to have 60% of the population using locally developed social networks and 40% using domestically-made search engines.

Phan Tam, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, said the IT, electronics and telecom sector has seen rapid development with extremely important achievements in the past five years.

IT products, especially mobile phones and computers, took first and third place among top 10 key export staples of Vietnam in 2019 with a trade surplus of $28 billion.

Software revenue for Vietnam reached US$5 billion in 2019 at a growth rate of 17.7% since 2009.

Overall, the IT, electronics and telecommunication sector creates more than one million jobs and generated a massive US$112.5 billion in 2019, which is double that of 2015.

The country is also experiencing a year-on-year growth rate of 17% in the cloud sector, bringing in US$2.4 billion. And with these advancements come the increasing need for data centers in the country.

There are around 30 data centers in Vietnam and more may be on their way to power their digital society, as the Government has invested $1.4 billion in new facilities as well as millions in local startups.

Apple announced it would build a data center in the country, confirming plans to invest $1 billion in Vietnam three years ago. The tech giant will join established data center players like CMC Telecom, Viettel IDC and FPT Telecom.

It’s an exciting time to keep watch of Vietnam’s digital industries and economy, considering the huge impact it makes to society and clear focus by the government to compete globally in the technology industry.

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Why South Korea is a perfect place to set up a data center

South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries in the world with constant innovations that make it a perfect place to set up a data center.

Don’t believe us? South Korea has the fastest local Internet speeds in the world with almost 90% of the population having access. 

The country is also the number one producer of mobile phones and semiconductors and is ranked first in the world in Bloomberg’s 2019 Innovation Index for the sixth year running.

And the innovations are expected to continue, as businesses are forecast to spend US$3 billion on cloud services and the Government is investing heavily in innovative technologies to boost infrastructure and economic growth in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

All these advancements are increasing the need for data centers to keep South Korea digitally alive by storing and processing an extraordinary amount of data.

Data center competition is heating up in South Korea

South Korea is seeing an increase in data center investments from global tech giants and data center providers, with even more expected from the increasing requirements brought by demand for cloud services and mobile technology.

A total of 16 data centers are scheduled to come online in 2020, adding to the 155 existing facilities in the country.

With all this progress, Cushman and Wakefield ranked South Korea twelfth in the world for data center growth and market size in 2019. The country’s ICT adoption is also ranked top in the world by the World Economic Forum in 2019.

As a result, South Korea is forecast to be one of the five leading revenue generators for APAC that, together, will produce 80% of the overall data center revenue amounting to US$32bn in the region by 2023.

But what makes it such an attractive place to do business?

Location, Location, Location

Seoul is the fourth-largest metropolitan economy in the world with more than 25 million living in the country’s capital – that’s almost half of South Korea’s population! It is also known for its powerful and stable IT infrastructure, with a strong potential talent pool from top universities in the city.

Following a rush to build data centers in South Korea last year, an unnamed Seoul-based IT company said to The Korea Times: “Korea and China are geographically close, which will make it easier to make inroads into the market there … Korea is relatively safe from natural disasters such as earthquakes compared to Japan.”

The country is a perfect place to set up data centers, as it is in an opportune location to provide connection points to both China and East Asia with low risk of natural disasters and at an affordable price compared to other markets in Asia Pacific.

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On average, electricity prices cost between US$0.10 to US$0.12 per kilowatt hour, with an estimated capital expenditure of US$8-10k kWh.

It is no surprise that with all that South Korea has to offer, it has produced global market leaders like Samsung, Hyundai, Kia Motors and LG Electronics.

Explosive growth in cloud computing drives up data center demand

South Korea’s public cloud market is forecast to double in size over the next four years to an astounding US$3.1 billion and an annual growth rate of 15%. The country also moved up to fifth place from seventh place in the 2020 Cloud Readiness Index by The Asia Cloud Computing Association.

Companies like Samsung, LG and 11 affiliates of CJ Group as well as organisations in e-commerce, online gaming and financial services are all looking to transition to the cloud to take advantage of cloud computing service providers in the near future.

This explosive growth is likely to increase the demand for data centers in South Korea, as cloud service providers look to lease data center space to empower companies that are looking to sell their own data centers and migrate to the cloud.

Huge investments in the Fourth Industrial Revolution pushes data centers into the future

On top of significant investments to support cloud computing services, the South Korean Government is set to funnel billions of dollars into 5G, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data.

At the start of the year the Government announced it would spend US$3.9 billion on innovative technology to boost research and development as well as another $2.1 billion on semiconductors, bio-health and “future car technology”. 

Then, once the global pandemic hit and President Moon Jae-in was re-elected, the Government would spend US$62 billion on a ‘new deal’ that largely focuses on the power of technological innovation to reshape the post-pandemic economy.

And by 2022, the country hopes to create one of the first hyper-connected cities by harnessing an enterprise-grade city-wide Internet of Things network.

But there are hitches along the way. Despite being a leader in 5G with now more than 6 million subscribers, users in South Korea have complained of difficulties staying connected to the fifth-generation wireless network.

Professor Yunmook Nah, a board member of Korea Data Center Council, said: “The rapid expansion of AI-based applications and their big data sources in all areas of society will surely increase computing and storage requirements, which will require much more cloud computing resources and data centers.”

Inevitably, both the advancements and challenges brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution innovations will push data center demand into the future to keep users connected and sustain the exponentially growing amount of data being produced in South Korea.

Overcoming the challenges of expanding into the South Korea data center market

Like any country, setting up a data center in South Korea comes with its challenges. 

One of the biggest hurdles to jump over for data center providers is finding available greenfield or brownfield sites with reliable power supplies. To overcome this, data center providers are building upwards with multi-storey data centers.

To solve the problem of powering new data centers, Joon-hwa Song, Team Lead for the Korea Data Center Council (KDCC), said operators are signing power supply contracts through individual negotiations with the Korea Electric Power Corporation.

The KDCC also looks to address power supply demand by appealing to the Government about the national importance of data centers and its industrial growth.

Another challenge identified by the KDCC is the shortage of data center operators to sustain the rise in facilities. To rectify this, KDCC is preparing to operate a specialist training programme.

Despite the growing appetite for cloud computing in South Korea, the country’s strict data localisation rules may slow down the availability of cloud services and the ability of data centers to enable adoption, particularly those provided by international organisations based outside of South Korea.

Regulations in the country state that only Korean companies operating servers in Korea are allowed to provide services to public institutions.

The Asia Cloud Computing Association recommended countries like South Korea that have ‘Cloud First’ policies to focus on making them a reality and implement policies that allow data-driven businesses to thrive without having to choose between innovation and disruption.

South Korea also recently amended the Network Act and Personal Information Protection Act to streamline and harmonise the use of personal information as well as facilitate a level of protection similar to GDPR in Europe, which could restrict the free flow of data.

But Professor Nah said: “Data 3 Act will promote wide spread use of personal data in alias form or anonymised form, enabling new businesses to utilise public big data in areas such as healthcare, finance and digital government. This Act will definitely accelerate the adoption of data economy.”

Despite the challenges, South Korea’s digital future is clearly bright, as they lead the way in technological innovations. 

If these challenges are overcome, then the country may be a force to be reckoned with for years to come and an inspiration to emerging markets looking to harness the power of data centers to empower digital transformation and adoption of innovations from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Take a peek into the future of data centers in South Korea

South Korea’s digital future is clearly bright, as they lead the way in technological innovations. But what will it take to meet the connectivity demands and empower digital transformation in the country?

Join industry peers as we take a look at how South Korea’s bustling digital economy will be powered by the backbone of reliable data centers and state of the art infrastructure like Digital Realty’s first South Korean data center.

Register now for Digital Realty’s Virtual Groundbreaking on 17 June.

Get involved in the celebrations on LinkedIn and Facebook using #DigitalRealtyLaunch, #CongratsDigitalRealty, #DigitalSeoul1 and #WMediaEvent!

Sunseap celebrates first anniversary for one of the largest solar farm projects in Vietnam, benefiting 200,000 citizens

One year ago, Sunseap went live with one of the largest solar farm projects in Vietnam that benefited 200,000 citizens and generated up to 2,000 jobs.

The Ninh Thuan Solar Power farm has since led to the reduction of 240,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

“I am most proud of the fact that we utilised land that would otherwise be wasted. Now, we have a project that produces a good amount of renewable energy and helps to develop the social economy for the local people,” said Mr. Truong Thanh Kien, a Plant Manager for Sunseap Vietnam.

The natural conditions of the deserted land was originally unfavourable for the construction of the solar farm in Vietnam.

Mr Truong said: “Since I took my first steps on arriving here, I have been in love with this area, as it is deserted and very close to nature.”

With support from InfraCo Asia and the local government, Sunseap was able to invest in quality equipment to overcome this challenge.

Initially, local residents in Vietnam voiced their concern about how the solar farm project would affect the environment and the clearance compensation.

“Their attitude changed when they realised that the compensation package given by the state was generous and they saw job opportunities that would generate income for their family,” said Ms. Ha Thi Thu Nga, a Community Relations Officer for Sunseap Vietnam, in a video by InfraCo Asia.

In the end, the 168-MWp solar farm in Vietnam was completed two weeks ahead of schedule in June 2019.

Ms. Ha celebrated: “The thing I am most proud of in this project is that it has helped to improve the economic development and the quality of life of the local community.”

Solving energy shortages in Vietnam to power a digital future

The threat of blackouts is typical of most fast-growing economies like Vietnam, which could slow down digital transformation and plans for smart cities in the country. 

The rising demand for electricity and delayed electricity projects are increasing the risk of power outages in the country. This may not be a good sign for data centers, as any downtime could cost the country around US$260,000 per hour.

There are around 30 data centers in Vietnam and more may be on their way, as the Government has invested $1.4 billion in new facilities as well as millions in local startups.

Data centers are also one of the biggest culprits of producing carbon emissions, which Vietnam looks to reduce by aiming to produce 23% of its energy through renewables by 2030.

Allard Nooy, CEO of InfraCo Asia, said: “Developing the Ninh Thuan Solar Power Plant in partnership with Sunseap supports InfraCo Asia’s aim to serve as a catalyst for future infrastructure development in the countries and sectors in which we work.”

Solar farms like Sunseap’s could go some way to powering Vietnam’s environmentally friendly digital future.

VinGroup’s VinAI to be the ‘first in Southeast Asia’ to deploy the NVIDIA DGX A100 data center solution

VinAI Research, VinGroup’s AI research arm revealed, has claimed to be the first in Southeast Asia to deploy the newly-launched NVIDIA DGX A100 data center solution.

Vietnam’s first artificial intelligence research lab looks to use the supercomputer to train large AI models for language and videos by enabling more natural human interaction with machines through voices, gestures and biometrics.

VinAI will scale up AI research with NVIDIA’s DGX A100

Dr Bui Hai Hung, the Director of VinAI Research, said: “We have some exciting models and experiments waiting for the new machine.”

Around 70 scientists, residents and engineers will make full use of the new AI system that can reduce the time required to complete an experiment from more than one week to less than 24 hours.

He added: “Our lab’s computing-facility utilisation is always maxed out at 100% so there is no shortage of workload.”

The research lab contributed to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by automatically analysing tweets for COVID-19 events and enabling face recognition of people donning face masks.

VinAI, founded in 2019, is prepared to scale up their research for applied AI projects, enabled by systems like NVIDIA’s DGX A100.

Dennis Ang, NVIDIA’s Director of Enterprise Business for the SEA and ANZ Region, said: “The new NVIDIA DGX A100 will empower VinAI to optimise computing power and resources to accelerate diverse workloads including data analytics, training and inference.”

The investment in AI is part of VinGroup’s long-term strategy of becoming a technology-focused corporation.

The NVIDIA DGX A100 was revealed in May 2020 as the world’s first five-petaflops server that can be divided into as many as 56 applications running independently. The system includes NVIDIA’s new A100 GPU and will cost around US$199,000.

Jensen Huang, NVIDIA’s Founder and CEO, said in a keynote recorded from the kitchen of his California home that the system allows a single server to either “scale up” to race through computationally intensive tasks such as AI training, or “scale out,” for AI deployment.

NVIDIA estimated that a data center powered by five DGX A100s working on AI training and inference can do the work of a typical data center with 50 DGX-1 systems and 600 CPU systems consuming 630 kilowatts and costing over $11 million.