Asia is a hotbed of datacentre activity

  • Singapore aims to retain major hub status
  • STT boasts AI-optimised facilities
  • Google pumping billions into Malaysia

Asia Pacific has been a hotbed of datacentre activity in recent days and weeks, with major developments from hyperscalers and telcos fuelling the region’s digital infrastructure expansion and innovation as demand for AI and cloud services drives further demand for capacity. 

Here are some of the highlights from just the past day or so, starting with multiple developments revolving around Singapore. 

Janil Puthucheary, senior minister of state at Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information, told Nikkei Asia that the island state, which already hosts 70 datacentres on its limited land mass, plans to allow further facilities to be constructed in a manner that meets both the environmental and digital infrastructure needs of the country. The move appears to be a response to the growing investment in datacentre facilities in other Asian markets (more on that topic later). “We want to continue to remain a significant player in the datacentre space for the region, for the world,” stated Puthucheary. The country aims to allocate at least 300 megawatts (MW) of additional capacity “in the near term”, noted the minister, with potentially another 200MW powered by green energy. The additional 500MW would be an increase of around 35% from the country’s current capacity. The timing will depend on the ability of the power companies and facility firms to enable the expansion in a sustainable way, using renewable energy sources and innovative cooling technologies.

That news came as ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) announced “artificial intelligence (AI) readiness in its datacentres across South-east Asia,” where the company has a datacentre footprint across all six major economies, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, “with more than 500MW of datacentre capacity, both operational and under construction,” the company noted in this announcement. “Part of this capacity is designed to cater to AI clusters and general-purpose computing workloads. AI clusters are already operational in STT GDC’s datacentres in both Singapore and Thailand today, with additional AI clusters expected to be operational in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia within the next two years.” The facilities are “designed and equipped to accommodate the latest GPU chips including Nvidia’s Blackwell products with substantial thermal design power, resulting in higher density powered racks ranging from 10 to 150KW per rack,” the company noted. “These datacentres feature advanced cooling solutions that support both liquid immersion cooling and direct-to-chip cooling technologies. This is the result of trials that started in 2022 with chassis-level precision immersion, direct-to-chip liquid cooling, and actively collaborating with leading industry players on various cooling technologies. STT GDC is also currently supporting GPU workloads through its customers who are Nvidia cloud service providers at its Thailand campus and is engaged in discussions with others regarding their AI requirements across the SEA datacentre campuses,” it added. STT GDC is also in the news currently as Singtel has teamed up with private equity firm KKR to bid for an equity stake in the datacentre operator, as we reported earlier this week.   

And in recent weeks, STT GDC also announced a joint venture partnership with VNG, a major technology company in Vietnam, for the development, construction and operation of datacentre projects in Ho Chi Minh City. “This partnership entails the continuation of operations at STT VNG Ho Chi Minh City 1 (previously referred to as VNG Data Center, situated in the Tan Thuan area) and the establishment of a new facility, STT VNG Ho Chi Minh City 2,” noted STT GDC. Vietnam is one of the countries currently attracting a great deal of investment and activity as its prospects to become a regional datacentre hub grow stronger – see Vietnam now a magnet for datacentre developers.

But it’s not all about Singapore and Vietnam… One of the other countries attracting datacentre investment is Malaysia, where Google has unveiled plans to invest $2bn to build a facility and develop a Google Cloud hub in Elmina Business Park in Selangor state, just north of the capital Kuala Lumpur. The facility will support Google’s “popular digital services”, such as search and maps for users in the country, as well as help to “deliver the benefits of Al to users and customers across the country,” noted the hyperscaler in this announcement. “When operational, Malaysia will join the 11 countries where Google has built and now operates datacentres serving users around the world… The cloud region will be complemented by Google Cloud’s existing Dedicated Cloud Interconnect locations in Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur, which provide direct connections between an organisation's on-premises network and Google Cloud’s global network. The Malaysia cloud region will join 40 regions and 121 zones currently in operation around the world,” added Google. Ruth Porat, president and chief investment officer and chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google, noted: “Google’s first datacentre and Google Cloud region is our largest planned investment so far in Malaysia – a place Google has been proud to call home for 13 years. This investment builds on our partnership with the government of Malaysia to advance its Cloud-First Policy, including best-in-class cybersecurity standards.” The news comes only weeks after Microsoft announced plans for a significant investment in Malaysia – see Microsoft bets $2.2bn on Malaysia hub for cloud, AI.

And still in Malaysia… Equinix has opened two new International Business Exchange datacentres in Johor (JH1) and Kuala Lumpur (KL1). “These carrier-neutral facilities establish a robust digital infrastructure in Malaysia to support its digital economy ambition, particularly as a regional digital hub. Malaysia-based businesses will gain access to a global ecosystem of over 10,000 enterprises, networks and cloud service providers, while global businesses can seize the digital opportunities presented by the nation,” noted Equinix in this announcement

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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