Leading up to the Pacific Telecom Council Annual Conference (PTC '24) in Honolulu, Hawaii (Jan. 21-24), the annual industry event for promoting the advancement of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the Pacific Rim, a new trade group has formed to support sustainable growth for Asia-Pacific data center operators.
As stated by their official launch post on LinkedIn, founding members of the Asia-Pacific Data Centre Association (APDCA) represent eight key players in the global data industry, including: AirTrunk; Digital Realty; Equinix; Global Switch; NTT Global Data Centers; Princeton Digital Group; ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, and Vantage Data Centers.
As a trade association formed to represent the collective interests of the data center industry in the Asia-Pacific region, the APDCA says it aims to identify and formulate common positions between data center operators, suppliers, and stakeholders, thereby empowering the industry to advocate for policies and regulations that support its sustainable growth.
Jeremy Deutsch, Interim Chairperson for APDCA, remarked:
"As economies in the region accelerate demand for digital services through adoption of 5G, generative AI, IoT and cloud computing, a clear and aligned vision for the role of digital infrastructure and data centers has never been more important. APDCA will represent this essential industry in the region, with a commitment to support the interests of our members, our industry, and the people, businesses, and communities we serve."
The newly formed group has already received global plaudits. APDCA is a sister organization to the European Data Centre Association, known as a key voice in the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, which includes over 100 data center operators and trade associations committed to leveraging technology and achieving ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to make Europe climate neutral by 2030.
In a joint statement, Lex Coors, Chair, and Michael Winterson, Managing Director of the European Data Centre Association, said:
"We have been watching the APDCA development with interest. Though our associations operate in different regulatory and political environments, many of our issues are global in nature: building the data centre of the future; meeting aspirational sustainability goals; and representing the importance of a robust digital infrastructure program to citizens and governments across the world. The EUDCA is looking forward to coordinating and working with the APDCA. We wish you the best of success."
Singapore and Malaysia
The trade group's formation seems very timely given the way the APAC data center market has been evolving in recent years in places such as Singapore, which as noted by local reporting has become such a popular destination for data centers that it now faces significant hurdles in the areas of power capacity and sustainability; and Malaysia, as evidenced by recent announcements from hyperscale data center builders such as EdgeConneX.
Last September, EdgeConneX revealed plans to build three proximate data centers that together will deliver nearly 300 megawatts of capacity combined. The new facilities will be located in downtown Kuala Lumpur (19 MW), Bukit Jalil (70 MW), and a nine-building, 30-acre campus in Cyberjaya (200 MW). Kelvin Fong, EdgeConneX Managing Director for APAC, explained:
“The high demand for scalable, high-capacity infrastructure across the Asia Pacific region fuels EdgeConneX expansion into Malaysia. Our Malaysian data center footprint will contribute to the nation’s digital economy, vibrant tech ecosystem, and passion for progress, fostering increased innovation and collaborative partnerships. We look forward to continued and shared success in the region, and supporting our customers' capacity expansions into Malaysia.”
Malaysia's high-tech growth is aided by the country’s dense network connectivity, available and scale power, multiple port cities, and connections to 22 submarine cables that provide low-latency access to other countries across the globe.
Commenting on the EdgeConneX data center expansion, Structure Research’s Head of Research, Jabez Tan, noted:
“The Malaysia market is attractive because of its proximity to the Singapore connectivity ecosystem. In addition, the ability to access the densely aggregated set of submarine cables will allow companies across Malaysia to connect to the rest of the APAC region from a single location. Being in such proximity eliminates performance degradation for a large cross-section of the workloads today.”
APAC Region's Data Center Growth an Expanding Story
Region-wide, Structure Research projected the colocation market for Asia-Pacific to grow at an expected CAGR of 12.2% from 2018-2024, with much of the demand coming from global cloud providers, social media platforms, media content and video streaming, e-commerce platforms and banking.
"The Asia Pacific region has two distinct segments of data center markets – those which serve regional demand, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, and those which serve mainly domestic markets, such as Tokyo, Shanghai and Australia. There are also several interesting Tier II markets, such as India and Indonesia, which have high population growth, but very low data center capacity at the moment."
Structure Research lately determined that the APAC data center colocation market supported 10,233 MW of critical IT capacity in 2023, representing ~40% of the entire global market, and is projected to grow at a 13.3% 5-year CAGR to 19,069 MW by 2028, representing the equivalent of ~1,700 MW of critical IT capacity added on average per year.
In its 2024 Global Data Center Predictions, datacenterHawk observed that the APAC region, once concentrated in a few key locales, is now expanding due to the power scarcity in Singapore, as well as data residency rules.
Within the APAC region, "the demand for data centers is driving exploration into previously untapped areas, necessitating adaptations in infrastructure design to accommodate smaller-scale but higher-density demands," added datacenterHawk's Rhett Gill.
At the trade group's formal launch, an APDCA statement contended that, globally, "Asia leads with the highest percentage of new data centre sites deployed, underscoring the region’s commitment to digital evolution. In the era of rapid digital transformation in Asia, the demand for robust data infrastructure has never been more critical," added the association.
Concurrent with the association's launch, this week also saw debut of the first APDCA report, titled, “How Will the Data Centre Industry Support Rapid Digital Growth and Innovation in Asia?”
The report looks into the dynamics of the region's explosive growth and how data centers form the backbone for networks, content, cloud, financial service providers, the public sector, and most other key organizations that support people's daily lives.
The report also identifies where and how factors of resilience and sustainability can be optimized throughout the APAC region to ensure the data center industry's continued growth, even as it reshapes other industries.