EdgeConneX investing US$2b in Malaysian digital infrastructure

PETALING JAYA: US-based data centre provider EdgeConneX has unveiled its US$2 billion (RM9.3 billion) investment plan for Malaysia’s digital infrastructure.

In September, it had announced three data centres planned for downtown Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Jalil, and Cyberjaya offering nearly 300MW of capacity.

In an exclusive interview with SunBiz, EdgeConneX Market & Commercial Development in Apac managing director Sam Lee (pix) said that with three different sites for potential capacity of 300MW, it will become the largest data centre operator in Malaysia.

“We are well underway with our design. Most of the planning approvals have been approved. Our current plan has a starting construction in January of this coming year. So 2024, January is when we should be breaking ground. The plan is to have a fully functioning data centre in the next 20 to 24 months,” he added.

Currently, it is actively involved in ongoing discussions to procure renewable energy, collaborating with solar providers, the government, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd to establish sustainable solutions for powering their data centres.

“At 150 megawatts, 180 megawatts of IT load, that is a lot of power. We have the experience working in many other countries around the world in order to ensure that we deliver a very green OHS screen of a solution as possible.

“We are tracking to be one of the lowest PUEs (power usage effectiveness) in all of Malaysia. We are also cognizant that data centres use a lot of water to run their data centres. And our current design and solution is to use a waterless data centre design, meaning we do not consume water as a typical data centre facility would use,” he shared.

He said that these facilities will also serve as the entry point into the thriving Asian market.

“Asia is where the growth is. So if you follow the trend of the data centre growth, it started in the US, kind of went over to Europe, and now Asia, that’s the trend. We’re seeing the full effects of that growth in cloud, e-commerce, gaming, and now AI. It’s hitting full throttle in Asia,” said Lee.

Additionally, he mentioned that Malaysia is an appealing location for data centre operations, citing its geopolitical advantages and strategic positioning within Southeast Asia, along with its cable connectivity.

“People are starting to say, hey, Malaysia’s the right place to go. So that’s kind of like the geopolitical, but also, keep in mind Malaysia is strategically located kind of like in the middle of Southeast Asia.

“It has a lot of submarine cable connectivity for the data transfers. It has good access, physical access by land, sea and air to many different countries around the region. English speaking capability is good. Education, the employment pool is good. So it has all of the elements to make up for a fertile data centre economy,” he said.

He emphasised that the Malaysian government is actively supporting its business operations with surprisingly no bureaucratic hurdles.

“This support spans every ministry in the government to accommodate and help support our business from employment green zones to power procurement green zones to tax incentives to Malaysia Digital initiatives,” he said.

Finally, Lee stressed that speed is key in the race to be the lead in Asia’s data centre industry and that the people who can deliver first generally win.

Adding, “The real exciting thing is that this is just the beginning. We are from a hyper-scaled, true hyper-scaled campus type perspective, we are probably one of the first movers in terms of making very big investments in multiple locations. But again, the good news is that we continue to look for more. Because that’s how strong the demand signals are.”

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