UK fund manager Actis continues to bet on data centres with the announcement today of a joint venture with Korean conglomerate GS Group.
The deal comes amid a flurry of data centre investment in Asia Pacific as the COVID-19 pandemic underlines growth in demand for remote server facilities to provide cloud services.
“Seoul has an insatiable appetite for data but is struggling to meet demand with fewer than five large scale non-owner occupied data centers currently available in the market,” said Brian Chinappi, head of Asia real estate for Actis.
The deal with GS E&C, a construction unit of what was once part of the LG empire, follows Actis’ build to core strategy for Korea and is the fund manager’s third major data centre commitment within one year following investments in mainland China and Nigeria.
Joining a Seoul Tech Cluster
Actis, which has already invested in and control a mainland China data centre platform, sees its plan for a $315 million data centre in greater Seoul as the first episode in a Korean series, as the city’s 95 percent smart phone penetration drives demand for server capacity.
“We are very excited about the partnership with GS Group for our first IDC project in Korea. We are tracking a pipeline of at least two more opportunities,” Actis partner Thomas Liu told Mingtiandi. He added that the 21 megawatt facility is expected to be ready for service in early 2023.
The eight-storey facility, which will be GS E&C’s tenth data centre project, will be built to Tier 3 standards, which require redundant and dual-powered servers, network links and other components, will feature 1,600 high density racks, and a further 400 low density racks.
The new server farm will be located within the Pyeongchon IT cluster in Anyang, a suburb located around 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) south of Seoul. LG has built some of Korea’s largest data centres in Pyeongchon, as tech firms in the area scramble to serve an urban market which has seen mobile data traffic increase by 26 times since 2012.
Going Global with Data Centres
The South Korean joint venture comes less than seven months after Actis launched a $250 million plan to establish a pan-African data centre platform by acquiring a majority stake in Nigerian operator Rack Centre.
That deal gave the UK firm control over a 750 kw Tier 3 data centre in Lagos, with plans to double that capacity to 1.5 MW.
In October of last year Actis agreed to invest $180 million to acquire a majority stake in China-focused data centre operator Chayora through its Actis Asia Real Estate fund and other managed vehicles.
Chayora announced in January that it had signed a strategic partnership with Telstra to serve the Australian telecom provider through its Tianjin area campus, and in a March interview said that it would be opening a $1.5 billion, 300 MW data centre in Tianjin this year.