21Vianet Group, the second largest carrier-neutral data center operator in China, today announced its Q2 2021 earnings and provided updates on its data center cabinet capacity, utilization, leasing, pricing, and development pipeline. Notably, 21Vianet will also be holding an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to change the name of the company from 21Vianet Group, Inc. to VNET Group, Inc.

Financial Performance in Q2 2021 – 21Vianet Group

In Q2 2021, 21Vianet Group reported revenue of RMB1,497m ($232m), a 7.9% increase quarter-over-quarter, and adjusted EBITDA of RMB425m ($65.8m), a 2.4% increase quarter-over-quarter. Therefore, the company’s EBITDA margin was 28.4% in Q2 2021, a ~150 bps decline quarter-over-quarter.

Full-Year 2021 Guidance

For full-year 2021, 21Vianet projects revenue of RMB6,100m to RMB6,300m (~$940m to ~$970m). Additionally, the company forecasts adjusted EBITDA of RMB1,680m to RMB1,780m (~$260m to ~$275m). Finally, the mid-point of the company’s guidance implies a year-over-year increase of 28% and 31% in revenue and EBITDA, respectively.

Operational Performance in Q2 2021 – 21Vianet Group

Portfolio

Overall, 21Vianet operates 32 self-built data centers and 54 partnered data centers in more than 20 cities throughout China.

In Q2 2021, 21Vianet brought 7.0k cabinets of power capacity into service. In turn, the company’s total cabinets of power capacity under management increased to 62.9k. Decomposing total cabinets further, 58.9k are self-built cabinets and 4.0k are partnered cabinets.

Geographically, 21Vianet’s self-built cabinets consist of 24.4k cabinets (41%) in Beijing, 9.3k cabinets (16%) in Shanghai & Hangzhou, and 9.3k cabinets (16%) in the Greater Bay Area.

21Vianet Data Center Map Q2 2021

Finally, in terms of mix, ~80% of 21Vianet’s cabinets are for retail colocation, while the remaining ~20% are for wholesale customers.

Utilization

In Q2 2021, 21Vianet’s utilization rate overall was 59.9%, compared to 61.7% in Q1 2021, representing a 1.8% decline. Additionally, given the company’s significant expansion of power capacity, the utilization metric can be bifurcated as follows:

  • Mature Data Centers: utilization rate was 76.3% in Q2 2021, versus to 73.9% in Q1 2021
  • Ramp-Up Data Centers: utilization rate was 29.2% in Q2 2021, versus to 30.6% in Q1 2021

Leasing

21Vianet Group continued its data center offering diversification from retail colocation, towards wholesale offerings for China’s largest cloud service providers. As of Q2 2021, the company has signed 230 megawatts with wholesale customers, which is in-service and/or under memorandum of understanding (MOU). Precisely, ~150 megawatts of power capacity is in-service, while ~80 megawatts is under memorandum of understanding (MOU).

As an example, 21Vianet targets hyperscale companies including Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, Huawei Cloud, Kingsoft Cloud, and JD Cloud. More specifically, a leasing win with these hyperscale companies has recently come from an expansion in North China.

During the quarter, 21Vianet expanded its geographic coverage to North China, acquiring land and power capacity. In turn, the company expects to deliver ~30 megawatts of power capacity for a leading content community and social platform in China. Additionally, the company states that this leasing will come through in the next two quarters.

Pricing

Retail monthly recurring revenue (MRR) per cabinet was down 1.4%, at RMB9,015 in Q2 2021, versus RMB9,144 in Q1 2021. Indeed, 21Vianet notes “fierce competition” in China’s data center market from carrier-operated facilities, carrier-neutral peers, and newcomers to the industry.

Development Pipeline

During 2021, 21Vianet intends to add 25.0k cabinets, equivalent to 180 megawatts of power capacity, to its portfolio. Notably, the addition of 25.0k cabinets represents a 47% increase on the 53.6k cabinets that the company had at year-end 2020. At the same time, 21Vianet is targeting a utilization rate of 60% by year-end 2021.

To fund this power capacity expansion plan, 21Vianet Group is budgeting capital expenditures of RMB5,000m to RMB6,000m during 2021.

Mary Zhang covers Data Centers for Dgtl Infra, including Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX), Digital Realty (NYSE: DLR), CyrusOne, CoreSite Realty, QTS Realty, Switch Inc, Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), Cyxtera (NASDAQ: CYXT), and many more. Within Data Centers, Mary focuses on the sub-sectors of hyperscale, enterprise / colocation, cloud service providers, and edge computing.

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