Friday, June 21, 2024

Aboitiz Group throws hat into data center business with US partner

Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC), the infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group, has entered into a partnership with EdgeConneX (ECX), a data center solutions firm based in the United States.

Photo from Aboitiz Group show EdgeConneX managing director for Asia Pacific Kelvin Fong (left) and Aboitiz InfraCapital president and CEO Cosette Canilao during the signing ceremony

The joint venture aims to address the rising data usage in the Philippines by developing a local data center that will house information technology (IT) equipment of cloud service providers.

The initial data center will be located in proximity to the National Capital Region and a secondary hyperscale campus is planned to be located in the Greater Manila Area.

The partnership – which will pave the way for the development of hyperscale data centers across the Philippines – will leverage on ECX’ global data center platform, build and operational capabilities, and “hyperscale” customer relationships.

This is complemented by AIC’s local expertise, assets, and infrastructure portfolio, including its 1,400 hectares of prime industrial real estate and its affiliate AboitizPower’s diversified renewable energy capacity, which the company aims to triple by 2030.

Hyperscale data centers are massive business-critical facilities designed to efficiently support robust, scalable applications of cloud service providers. AIC and ECX aim to provide world-class cooling and power infrastructure solutions to “hyperscalers” and other key customers.

“Businesses are increasingly turning to cloud service providers — or “hyperscalers” — for cost efficiency, flexibility, and scalability; and thus the need for data centers has never been more demanding. This trend will continue with certainty and speed, and our efforts to seize the opportunities it offers have been proven successful with this latest landmark infrastructure deal for the Aboitiz Group,” said Sabin Aboitiz, president and CEO of the Aboitiz Group.

AIC president and CEO Cosette Canilao explained that the partnership aims to help boost the country’s digital infrastructure ecosystem and serve the local market demand, highlighting the Philippines’ attractiveness for data centers.

The focus on enabling digital capabilities also aligns with the Aboitiz Group’s thrust to move to become the Philippines’ first techglomerate.

“There is great excitement about the partnership and the incredible market opportunity the partnership enables,” said Canilao.

“The Philippines is an underserved market, and is witnessing high data demand growth relative to Southeast Asia. The market size, favorable demographics, and proliferation of subsea cables make the Philippines an ideal destination for data center investments. We also have access to prime real estate in major city centers such as Manila, as well as emerging economic hubs like Batangas. We’re thrilled to have a premier global data center partner in EdgeConneX,” she continued.

Canilao noted that the Philippines is among the leaders in the use of digital media and digital service exports, with Filipinos spending more than nine hours on the Internet every day, and the country’s information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector dominating the global market.

“With the prevalence of e-commerce and remote working, data usage is set to grow exponentially. Data centers enable cloud service providers and tech companies to serve these types of user needs,” she said.

EdgeConneX, meanwhile, provides data center solutions worldwide. The company works closely with customers, offering tailor-fit options in terms of location, scale, and type of facility.

“In AIC, we have the ideal partner in the Philippines. They possess all of the local assets and expertise required to build out critical digital infrastructure that can best support our customers across the entire country. We look forward to investing in the digital economy of the Philippines and meeting our customers’ needs throughout the region. They complement our capabilities required to successfully capture this market opportunity,” shared Randy Brouckman, CEO of EdgeConneX.

“Since being acquired by EQT Infrastructure in 2020, EdgeConneX has accelerated its presence in Asia after having identified the growing demand for hyperscale datacenters solutions to serve the surge in data usage. The Philippines marks the fourth country in Asia that EdgeConneX has entered, after successful entries into India, China, and Indonesia over the past two years,” said Kelvin Fong, managing director for EdgeConneX in Asia.

Last year, AIC entered the digital infrastructure space through a joint venture tower company called Unity Digital Infrastructure, Inc.

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