KUALA LUMPUR (April 12): Malaysia emerged as the top destination for data centre investment among the Southeast Asia five (SEA-5), with 113MW of take-up in 2022, and around 20% forecasted supply growth for the next five years. Countries in SEA-5 include Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam.
This was shared by panellists at the Knight Frank (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd’s Malaysian Data Centre White Paper report launch event on Wednesday (April 12).
The panellists comprised DCByte Ltd managing director (Apac) James Murphy, Knight Frank Asia associate director of data centre lead (Apac) Fred Fitzalan Howard, Knight Frank (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd director of land and industrial solutions Chelwin Soo and Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of valuation as well as advisory Justin Chee, while Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of research and consultancy Amy Wong moderated the event.
According to Murphy, much of the take-up for the Malaysian market accounts for the growth of data centres in Kuala Lumpur and Johor. According to him, Kuala Lumpur has seen a growth of data centre supply of 250W during the pandemic from 60W in 2012 to 2019.
Murphy highlighted Johor as well: “Johor has seen enormous growth in the last couple of years. In 2020, there wasn’t anything interesting happening in Johor’s data centre market. But in 2021 and 2022, we started seeing huge amounts of developments. What’s different in Johor compared to other markets is that the data centres are being built at a speed of about 12 to 15 months instead of the regular 18 to 24 months.”
Johor is also an attraction to investors because it has ample land and power supply coupled with its ease in working with local authorities, he added.
Based on the report, key data centre developments in Johor include JB1 by Open DC, Iskandar Puteri Core Data Centre (Nusajaya Tech Park) by VADS, Sedenak Tech Park by Yondr and SEA Data Centre by YTL among others.
Murphy also explained that Malaysia’s strong GDP growth figures (8.7%) against its peers, alongside newly-announced cloud regions for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google, resulted in the country’s position as the leading SEA-5 market.
Meanwhile, Howard said data centre infrastructure is a much needed property in this region due to rapid the evolution of technology.
“Investors are generally interested in this sector because they want to make institutionalised investments. Secondly, it's the security of income that’s associated with data centres. It is very rare for tenants to move out of data centres because the cost of moving into them is too high so the best option in most cases is to renew and reuse these facilities.
Howard said: “Although Philippines and Vietnam are larger in population, they are lacking in terms of GDP growth, which makes hyper-scalers hold back from investing in these markets. The transparency of doing business in these markets is also a lot smaller. Malaysia and Indonesia are very much charging ahead of these two markets and with more big names coming in, it is no surprise that the Malaysian data centre market might overpower other leading regions.”