Southeast Asia continues to be a top target for data centre developers and investors with Hong Kong’s Gaw Capital Partners announcing a new project in Indonesia on the same day last week that Singapore’s ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) unveiled plans for its first project in Malaysia.
Gaw’s latest Indonesia venture sees it tying up with Sinar Primera Group, an industrial developer with links to Jakarta-based heavyweight Sinar Mas, to develop a six megawatt facility on the island of Batam near Singapore.
For its initial foray into Malaysia, STT GDC, a Singapore-based operator controlled by Temasek Holdings, is teaming up with local IT solutions provider Basis Bay for a 20MW campus in the Cyberjaya tech hub near Kuala Lumpur as the first project in a joint venture to develop and operate data centres across the country.
The two companies form part of a rush that saw 33 new Southeast Asia data centre projects announced in the first eight months of 2023, according to Mingtiandi data, which was up from 22 last year and nearly double 2021’s full year total of 18, as investors seek to capitalise on increased data consumption and demand for cloud computing and artificial intelligence in the region.
Near-Shoring in Batam
Gaw’s Indonesian data centre partnership sees the private equity investor taking a majority stake as Sinar Primera holds a minority share and acts as development manager. The shareholding of each party was not disclosed.
“The collaboration allows us to combine our development expertise and local proficiency in the Indonesian market with Gaw Capital’s global real estate experience, paving the way for a cutting-edge data centre facility that will meet the increasing demand for advanced digital infrastructure in Batam and surrounding region,” said Hong Kah Jin, head of Sinar Primera Group.
The project is located within Batam’s Nongsa Digital Park, a special economic zone inaugurated by Indonesia and Singapore in 2018 to serve as a “digital bridge” between the two countries. Located 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) from Singapore the partners foresee clients operating in the Lion City using the facility as part of a nearshoring strategy.
Phase one of the project is scheduled to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2024, according to a company release.
Nongsa Digital Park has become a popular destination for international data centre operators, with Warburg Pincus-backed Princeton Digital Group in February of this year having unveiled plans for a to develop a 96MW campus there and Chinese data centre giant GDS in September having formed a joint venture with the Indonesia Investment Authority sovereign fund to develop a hyperscale campus Nongsa Digital Park as the first project in their nationwide data centre network plan.
Gaw Expands SE Asia Bets
For Gaw Capital, which managed $35.2 billion of assets as of the second quarter, the Indonesia announcement is its second for a project in Nongsa Digital Park after its 2021 launch of a 30MW facility through a Singapore-based joint venture.
For its latest Indonesia venture, Gaw has linked up with one of the country’s largest conglomerates with Sinar Mas also controlling Asia Pulp and Paper and palm oil producer PT SMART.
An entry on Sinar Primera’s website links the company to a Texas-based family office named Golden Primera, and describes the family investment vehicle as also belonging to Sinar Mas Group. A LinkedIn profile for Sinar Primera chief executive Hong Kah Jin shows him employed as head of property development for Sinar Mas from 2019 to the present.
In October the private equity firm launched a 12MW data centre in Malaysia’s Cyberjaya through its Infinaxis Data Centre Platform joint venture with Singapore-based data centre player A3 Capital. That transaction followed its entry into the Vietnamese data centre market with the purchase in June 2022 of a greenfield plot at Saigon Hi-Tech Park for a 20MW facility.
“In recent years, the Asia region stands as a prominent frontier in the data centre industry, offering vast opportunities for growth and development,” said Kok Chye Ong, Gaw Capital’s head of internet data centres for Asia ex-China. “Gaw Capital’s data centre platform, in line with this trend, has encompassed a strategic network of data centres situated in key Asian markets including China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the recent addition of Malaysia.”
STT GDC Enters 10th Market
In Malaysia, STT GDC and Basis Bay are teaming up to develop a two-building campus on a three acre (1.2 hectare) site in Cyberjaya, about 30 kilometres away from Kuala Lumpur, according to a joint statement on Thursday. The companies declined to disclose financial details.
Dubbed Cyberjaya DC.2, the first building in the project is set to go online next year to service local and international banks, financial institutions and government agencies. With construction kicking off in the coming months, the second facility, STT Kuala Lumpur 1, will be ready to cater to hyperscale customers in phases starting from 2025.
The partners said “the joint venture is also actively sourcing for new opportunities to expand further within the country.”
“STT GDC has a clear vision for our presence and expansion in Malaysia, driven by our recognition of the country’s immense growth potential in the digital economy,” Lionel Yeo, chief executive officer for Southeast Asia at STT GDC, said in response to Mingtiandi’s queries on Friday. “We are fully committed to establishing ourselves as a leader in the Malaysian data centre market and meeting the rising demand for data storage and processing capabilities.”
The project gives STT GDC a presence in its seventh market in APAC and 10th globally, with the latest venture being announced less than six months after the Temasek-backed firm entered Indonesia in June with a 72MW campus in West Java.
Beyond its home market of Singapore, the firm operates in Thailand and the Philippines where it is currently developing a 124MW campus in Metro Manila through a JV with local conglomerate Ayala Corp and its telecom unit Globe.
Beyond Southeast Asia, the company also has presences in India, South Korea and Japan, as well as Germany and the UK in Europe. STT GDC is also the single largest shareholder in Chinese data centre giant GDS.