What Vantage Data Centers’ Asia-Pacific Expansion Means for Customers – A Q&A with Sureel Choksi
In September, Vantage Data Centers announced its USD $1.5 billion expansion into the Asia-Pacific market with the addition of five markets via two separate acquisitions.
The first acquisition involved Agile Data Centers (Agile), a data center provider with hyperscale campuses totaling 168MW of critical IT load in Tokyo, Osaka and Melbourne. The second acquisition involved the data center portfolio of PCCW Ltd. (PCCW DC), which includes approximately 100MW of existing and expansion critical IT load across multiple facilities in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
This exciting expansion invariably raises questions for the customers of Vantage, which now includes the former customers of Agile and PCCW DC, about what they can expect and how the acquisitions will impact their experience. To get answers to some of these questions, we sat down with the president and CEO of Vantage – Sureel Choksi – to talk more about the expansion.
Interview with Sureel Choksi
Data Centers Today (DCT): Can you tell our readers a bit more about the recent acquisitions that launched Vantage’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific market? Who was involved, and how did these acquisitions come together?
Sureel Choksi: Our Asia-Pacific expansion involves Vantage entering five different markets. This was made possible through two separate, yet related, transactions that were spearheaded by Vantage in partnership with our lead investor, DigitalBridge Group.
The first acquisition was Agile Data Centers, which has campuses under development in Tokyo, Osaka and Melbourne. Agile was previously a sister company to Vantage under DigitalBridge’s portfolio of operating companies, so we have a history together already.
Given our common products, customer targets and strengths, we saw a valuable opportunity to strategically combine the two operating companies under the Vantage brand to focus exclusively on broadening our digital platform targeting hyperscale customers. This enables us to leverage the operational expertise and leadership of the Vantage team with the in-region knowledge of the Agile team.
The second acquisition was the data center business of PCCW, which includes facilities across Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, as well as a stellar APAC-based team.
Vantage had previously announced plans to acquire PCCW DC in September of this year. We made the decision in partnership with DigitalBridge to combine PCCW DC with Vantage due to the synergies of our services and customer bases.
Adding the new Asia-Pacific data centers into Vantage’s existing data center portfolio gives us 23 campuses across the five continents of Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and North America.
DCT: Why was the APAC market important to Vantage? What market trends and demand signals drove Vantage to expand to the region?
Sureel Choksi: As the industry and cloud computing continue to grow, there is a greater need for large-scale data centers in strategic locations around the world. We see the industry-changing, with customers increasingly needing higher-density, scalable capabilities. These customers value location, total cost of ownership and connectivity, and they like to work with trusted partners like Vantage around the globe.
“Adding the new Asia-Pacific data centers into Vantage’s existing data center portfolio gives us 23 campuses across the five continents of Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and North America.” – Sureel Choksi
These transactions accelerated Vantage’s entry into Asia Pacific, which is one of the regions where hyperscalers are looking to significantly expand their businesses and home to more than half of the world’s population. This strategic expansion provides an opportunity to grow our relationships with hyperscale, cloud and enterprise customers doing business in the region, while providing our existing customers with opportunities to expand with us to new markets.
DCT: Does Vantage anticipate continued organic growth and expansion in the region?
Sureel Choksi: APAC remains one of the most sought-after regions for many of our hyperscale customers. Vantage is committed to bringing our approach to building and operating world-class, scalable data centers, combined with operational excellence, to Asia Pacific. We are here and ready to serve our customers quickly in this important region and anticipate continued expansion throughout APAC.
DCT: The expansion into the Asia-Pacific market was driven by two key acquisitions. Why expand into the market with acquisitions instead of organically?
Sureel Choksi: Expanding into the APAC market via acquisitions initially enabled us to grow and offer services in that region much more quickly. PCCW DC had a well-established footprint in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. This gives us an immediate presence in those high-demand markets to serve our customers.
The addition of Agile Data Centers to Vantage further expands our reach through three greenfield opportunities in Tokyo, Osaka and Melbourne. This gives us the ability to quickly expand further in APAC beyond the existing footprint of the former PCCW DC.
In addition to acquiring data centers and greenfield developments, we also acquired a strong team of talented, in-region professionals who know and understand the market and the industry.
All three companies – Vantage, Agile and PCCW DC – believe in delivering an exceptional customer experience. With the cultures and values of the three companies so closely aligned, this drastically reduces the time it would have taken to recruit and onboard talent from square one. That being said, we are already expanding our combined team to keep up with demand.
DCT: Why are these acquisitions in strategy for Agile and PCCW Ltd.? Why was this a good decision for these organizations?
Sureel Choksi: Combining Agile with Vantage brings tremendous value to Agile’s customers, investors and employees. Agile and Vantage have existing investors in common who bring a well-established strategic vision for the digital infrastructure space. In addition, the two companies have many commonalities in our core values and in the way we approach our business plans.
The Agile team can now scale more quickly and bring their in-region expertise to help Vantage continue our rapid global expansion.
“These transactions accelerated Vantage’s entry into Asia Pacific, which is one of the regions where hyperscalers are looking to significantly expand their businesses and home to more than half of the world’s population.” – Sureel Choksi
The sale of PCCW DC to Vantage Data Centers was in line with PCCW Ltd.’s strategy to streamline its operations to focus on technology, IP development and services. Through the sale of the data center business, PCCW will have the flexibility to allocate its capital and resources to drive growth in its other lines of business. Additionally, PCCW DC customers will benefit from Vantage’s expertise, operational excellence and access to a global data center portfolio.
DCT: What can the customers of the former PCCW DC and Agile expect as a result of these acquisitions?
Sureel Choksi: Customers of both former organizations will continue to work with their existing teams as well as additional global team members from Vantage. Customers can expect the same level of service that they have always received from their data center providers without interruption. We pride ourselves on operational excellence, and the teams from both Agile and PCCW DC align with this same philosophy and practice. Customers can also expect more geographic options with our expanding data center platform.
DCT: What about the employees who worked for PCCW DC and Agile? Have they joined the Vantage organization? Who will lead Vantage’s APAC business?
Sureel Choksi: Yes, former employees of Agile and PCCW DC have joined Vantage. Brian Groen, previously senior vice president of PCCW DC, has joined Vantage as president, APAC. Giles Proctor, formerly the president and co-founder of Agile Data Centers, now serves as chief operating officer of Vantage’s APAC business. The Vantage APAC team includes nearly 150 employees, providing scale and continuity between both customers and team members.
DCT: How will Vantage compete in the APAC market?
Sureel Choksi: Vantage will bring our approach to building and operating world-class, scalable data centers, combined with operational excellence, to the APAC market. This includes applying our state-of-the-art standardized design to future greenfield developments. In addition, we remain committed to offering renewable energy at all campuses globally as well as reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030 worldwide, which is welcomed in APAC and globally as countries look to meet their own climate targets.
To learn more about Vantage’s Asia-Pacific data centers and expansion, click HERE to read the press announcement.