21Vianet Group, the second largest carrier-neutral data center operator in China, today announced its Q1 2021 earnings and provided updates on its data center portfolio, utilization, leasing, pricing, and development pipeline.

Financial Performance in Q1 2021 – 21Vianet Group

In Q1 2021, 21Vianet Group reported revenue of RMB1,387m ($212m), a 2.9% increase quarter-over-quarter, and adjusted EBITDA of RMB415m ($63.4m), a 6.5% increase quarter-over-quarter. Therefore, the company’s EBITDA margin was 29.9% in Q1 2021, a ~100 bps improvement quarter-over-quarter.

Full-Year 2021 Guidance

For full-year 2021, the company projects revenue of RMB6,100m to RMB6,300m and adjusted EBITDA of RMB1,680m to RMB1,780m. Additionally, 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 Q1 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 Q1 2021, 21Vianet brought 2.4k cabinets of power capacity into service. In turn, the company’s total cabinets of power capacity under management increased to 55.9k. Decomposing total cabinets further, 52.2k are self-built cabinets and 3.7k are partnered cabinets.

21Vianet Data Center Map Q1 2021

Geographically, 21Vianet’s self-built cabinets consist of 23.0k cabinets (44%) in Beijing, 9.8k cabinets (19%) in Shanghai & Hangzhou, and 9.3k cabinets (18%) in the Greater Bay Area.

Utilization

In Q1 2021, 21Vianet’s utilization rate overall was 61.7%, compared to 60.4% in Q4 2020, representing a 1.3% improvement. Additionally, given the company’s significant expansion of power capacity, the utilization metric can be bifurcated as follows:

  • Mature Data Centers: utilization rate overall was 73.9% in Q1 2021, versus to 77.8% in Q4 2020
  • Ramp-Up Data Centers: utilization rate overall was 30.6% in Q1 2021, versus to 31.7% in Q4 2020

For 2021’s measurements, the company moved capacity delivered in 2019 to the “mature” category and capacity delivered in 2020 to the “ramp-up” category. Hence, there is a decline in utilization for both components of the broader utilization metric quarter-over-quarter.

Leasing

21Vianet Group continued its diversification from retail colocation towards wholesale offerings for China’s largest cloud service providers. As of Q1 2021, the company has signed 190+ megawatts with wholesale customers, which is in-service and/or under memorandum of understanding (MOU).

Hyperscale Customers in China – 21Vianet

21Vianet China Hyperscale Data Center Customers

Specifically, leasing wins with these cloud service providers and internet companies include:

E-commerce Company – Hebei

In Q1 2021, the company signed a lease with an e-commerce company for 1.0k cabinets or ~6 megawatts of power capacity at its N-HB02 facility in Hebei province. Specifically, 21Vianet will deliver this space in Q2 2021. Moreover, this transaction is an example of the conversion of a long-term retail customer to a wholesale customer.

Other Notable Wins

In Shanghai, 21Vianet secured a retail lease with a leading video community company. Also, the company entered into an agreement with a logistics company. Finally, 21Vianet notes that it has seen incremental demand from the financial services industry, specifically commercial banks.

Pricing

Retail monthly recurring revenue (MRR) per cabinet was roughly flat at RMB9,144 in Q1 2021, versus RMB9,131 in Q4 2020.

Development Pipeline in Q1 2021 – 21Vianet Group

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.

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

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