Hong Kong private equity shop Gaw Capital Partners has teamed up with a Singapore-based real estate specialist for a new venture that will invest in greenfield and underperforming data centre assets across Southeast Asia, starting with a 12-megawatt facility to be built in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The new joint venture platform between Gaw and A3 Capital aims to create a portfolio of data centres that have received Tier-3 certification, the second highest rating for availability and performance. The JV will also launch the Infinaxis Data Centre platform to manage the assets under a seasoned data centre team that was originally part of A3 Capital.
Under the partnership, Gaw and A3 plan to develop, acquire or reposition a total of four or five data centres in different locations throughout Southeast Asia. The partners are also looking at pipeline opportunities in neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Singapore, according to a statement, which follows a slew of data centre investments by Gaw in Southeast Asia and East Asia in recent years.
Data Centre Nexus
The partnership’s first investment is a pair of greenfield sites with a combined plot area of 12,490 square metres (134,441 square feet) in the Malaysian tech hub of Cyberjaya. The JV platform will develop an internet data centre (IDC) with a 12 MW critical load on one of the plots, with plans to potentially double that capacity in the future, while the second plot is slated to be developed as an expansion site.
Cyberjaya, a 29 square kilometre (11 square miles) site just south of Malaysia’s capital city, has 14 data centre facilities accounting for about 75 percent of the country’s total capacity as of last August, according to a market report by Arizton.
“The data centre demand in Malaysia is underpinned by strong internet traffic and high amount of data consumption,” said Kok Chye Ong, head of Gaw’s Asia data centre platform outside of China in a statement.
Ong added that despite several government initiatives in Malaysia over the last decade to make the country a more attractive market, “the supply of quality data centres has not caught up with the technical demand from customers.”
Zahri Mirza, chief executive for Infinaxis, noted that the partnership with Gaw has enabled the company to fast-track the delivery of services for its customers and to secure the necessary regulatory approvals from the Malaysia Investment Development Authority and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation in a timely manner.
Founded by Yusof Wahid, a chartered surveyor and private equity real estate veteran, A3 Capital focuses on data centre and industrial properties, with activities spanning real estate fund management, asset management and syndication. Wahid previously founded AsiaEquity Partners and partnered with Singapore’s Keppel Group to launch Securus Data Property Fund, which later became SGX-listed Keppel DC REIT.
Wahid also led AEP Investment Management’s launch of sharia-compliant private fund Basil Property Trust, which aggregated more than $600 million in assets under management across three countries.
Betting on Bit Barns
Gaw, which had roughly $33.6 billion of assets under management as of the third quarter of 2022, most recently displayed its interest in server sheds by scooping up a 6,056 square metre greenfield data centre site in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where the company plans to develop a facility with an IT capacity of 20 MW.
That deal in June of last year came after Gaw announced a partnership with Korean private equity firm IMM Investment Corp to expand the Seoul-based firm’s Dreamline telecom division, including by investing in Dreamline’s Dreammark1 data centre unit, which owns a 10 MW carrier neutral facility in Seoul.
In 2021, Gaw launched a Singapore-based JV company called Data Centre First, with a maiden project in the nearby Indonesian city of Batam, representing Gaw’s first investment in its Asian data centre platform outside of China. Industry veteran Wong Ka Vin serves as co-founder and chief executive of the venture, which targets a data centre portfolio in Southeast Asia and beyond.
Less two years before this tropical venture, Gaw teamed up with Beijing-based Centrin Data to acquire, develop and operate hyperscale facilities in China. The partnership launched a new fund seeded with a year-old facility built by Centrin in Kunshan, just outside of Shanghai.