Gaw Capital Partners, an Asia-Pacific focused real estate private equity firm, today announced the creation of a new joint venture, Data Center First Pte Ltd, alongside Wong Ka Vin, as Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, with its initial project in Batam, Indonesia, an island which sits ~20 miles (~32 kilometers) off the coast of Singapore.
As a result of the Government of Singapore’s moratorium on building hyperscale data centers – large enterprises, cloud service providers, and other hyperscale customers have been forced to rely on neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia to provide data center services. Notably, Data Center First will be headquartered in Singapore.
Batam, Indonesia – Initial Data Center Project
Data Center First will develop its initial 30-megawatt data center campus in Batam, Indonesia with funding from Gaw Capital.
The site is located on 2.75 hectares of land in Nongsa Digital Park (NDP), which was developed by Citramas Group.
Nongsa Digital Park (NDP) has been granted Special Economic Zone status and is positioned as an effort to jointly grow Singapore and Indonesia’s digital economies. Specifically, this Special Economic Zone status includes:
- Tax Incentives: with a focus on data center infrastructure
- Foreigner Friendly: easy access in-and-out of the location for foreigners, with Batam being a 30-minute ferry ride from Singapore. Additionally, foreigners working at Nongsa Digital Park (NDP) can receive longer work permits
Notably, the Indonesian Government is promoting Batam as an alternative to Jakarta (Indonesia’s capital). Batam will act as a hub for data centers and international connectivity (i.e., via subsea cables).
Batam is the most interconnected location in West Indonesia. Indeed, the city has 13 international subsea cables which connect the island to Singapore, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Data Center First – Business Plan
Beyond their initial project in Batam, Indonesia, Gaw Capital and Data Center First intend to develop and operate data centers in Southeast Asia and beyond. Specifically, the joint venture’s plans are to grow a regional data center platform through a combination of multiple asset and platform acquisitions. Indeed, today’s announcement in Batam, Indonesia with Data Center First is the initial step in the execution of this strategy.
Wong Ka Vin, Data Center First’s CEO, has prior experience building data center platforms. Overall, his experience includes roles at i-STT, Equinix Asia Pacific, CSF Group Asia (which became ChinData), and 1-Net in Singapore where he built 1-Net North.
Gaw Capital Partners – Data Center Investments
Data Center First is Gaw Capital’s initial data center investment in the Asia-Pacific region, outside of China. Prior to today’s announcement, Gaw Capital has invested in projects in-partnership with data center developers and operators in China.
In aggregate, Gaw Capital has raised total equity of ~$1.3bn, with its largest backer being Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), to build data center clusters in China. Specifically, the group’s initial project in China is located in Kunshan, Jiangsu, which is near Shanghai. The project consists of two phases with a total gross floor area (GFA) of 3.2 million sqft (300k sqm).
Indonesia – Data Center Market
Indonesia is currently the 8th largest data center market in the Asia-Pacific region and is growing at a swift pace. The country’s data center market will grow at a 34% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2022, to reach revenues of ~$370m.
The Indonesian data center colocation market remains concentrated in the Greater Jakarta region, within West Java. Additionally, Surabaya in East Java offers disaster recovery centers. Finally, Batam is in close proximity to Singapore and is an up-and-coming location in Indonesia for growth.
Internet companies and the opening of cloud regions is driving overall hyperscale data center demand in Indonesia:
- Local Internet Companies: Gojek (payments, food delivery, transportation) and Tokopedia (e-commerce)
- Global Hyperscale Companies: Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud
- Chinese Hyperscale Companies: Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud, Huawei, ByteDance (owner of TikTok), JD Cloud
Indonesia’s data center market will grow from 134 megawatts of power capacity in 2020 to 363 megawatts of power capacity by 2022. Indeed, this represents a CAGR of 64%.
Indonesia has ~20 data center operators in the country. Specifically, these providers include:
- Retail Colocation: Elitery, IDC, Jupiter
- Telecom Operators (Carrier Hotel): Biznet, IM3 (Indosat Ooredoo), Moratelindo, Telkomsigma
- Wholesale / Hyperscale: GTN, Princeton Digital Group, PT DCI (partnership with Equinix), NTT Global Data Centers