Tech giants fuel data center growth for digital transformation

Numerous domestic technology companies are hugely investing in constructing data centers that meet international standards and regional scale to contribute to the national digital transformation process.

The data center of VNG in Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone in District 7 is under strict monitoring 24/7

In mid-May, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan distributed the investment certificate for Viettel's project to construct its Data Service and High-Tech Research and Development Center in Tan Phu Trung Industrial Park (Cu Chi District, HCMC).

The project, with an investment value of VND14.7 trillion (US$577.5 million), will cover an area of 40,000m2. Phase 1 is scheduled to commence operations in the fourth quarter of 2025, while Phase 2 is slated for the first quarter of 2028.

This digital infrastructure project materializes Viettel's investment memorandum with HCMC People's Committee to support digital transformation goals, as announced at the Investment Promotion Conference for Hoc Mon and Cu Chi districts in April 2022. The project will serve as a data hub attracting foreign companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon to Vietnam and as a broadband connection hub linking HCMC to destinations worldwide.

Other technological businesses sited in HCMC have also poured thousands of billions of VND into building their own data centers. For instance, CMC Tan Thuan Data Center in District 7, with a capital amount of VND1.5 trillion ($59 million), is one of the safest and most modern in Vietnam and ASEAN.

This center was designed by B-Barcelona Singapore following the strictest standards for a modern data center, such as PCI DSS, ISO 27001:2013, ISO 9001:2015. Its aim is to help transform HCMC into a high-quality service city full of novel technologies for the development of both digital economy and society by 2030 as well as a digital hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

VNG itself has established its data center in Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone in District 7 on a surface area of 7,800m2 to accommodate 410 racks for servers. This capacity will be expanded to 1,600 racks in the future to flexibly and timely answer the demands of the national digital transformation process.

The center exploits advanced technologies in the data center field, including a dual backup power system to ensure a stable power supply and a customized DCIM system for automated operation and monitoring to minimize human error and promptly detect and fix technical faults.

VNPT and MobiFone have invested in forming their own data centers in several provinces and cities. The latter now has four such centers in Hai Phong City, Da Nang City, HCMC, and Dong Nai Province. It aims to have another seven centers in 2025, along with expanding the scale of current ones to satisfy the needs of its clients.

Vietnam now has 33 data centers with a total capacity of 80MW, operated by 48 service providers. The main centers are located in Hanoi and HCMC. Vietnam's data center market generated a revenue of $685 million in 2023 and is projected to reach $1.44 billion by 2029, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1 percent.

The increasing investment in data centers is driven by several factors, including the growing presence of foreign e-commerce companies establishing servers in Vietnam to comply with regulations and cater to the expanding local customer base.

Meanwhile, Decree 53/2022/ND-CP by the Government stipulates that foreign companies providing services in Vietnam must store Vietnamese user information and data within the country. This regulatory shift, coupled with the influx of foreign investments, has fueled the demand for data storage and processing services from multi-national corporations.

The latest report by Viettel IDC reveals that the global data center market has a scale of $321 billion, with an average growth rate of 7.3 percent per year. The Asia-Pacific region stands out as one of the most dynamic data center markets, with a projected CAGR of 19 percent until 2028. Vietnam's data center market is forecast to reach $1.27 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 10.8 percent.

Despite this promising outlook, General Director Trang Bui of Cushman & Wakefield Group commented that Vietnam’s data center market is still in its early stages, characterized by its modest growth. This sentiment aligns with assessments from international organizations that recognize Vietnam's data center market as relatively small compared to its Southeast Asian counterparts in Singapore and Malaysia.

However, the country’s competitive construction costs, land prices, and strategic geographical location has positioned it as an attractive emerging market for investors.

The Ministry of Information and Communication predicts that in the upcoming time, the demand for data centers will continue to surge.

The strong investment in data centers by Vietnamese companies underscores the notion that Vietnamese data is a national resource, and thus must be stored and processed within the country or under Vietnamese authorization.

This emphasis highlights the inextricable link between national digital sovereignty and Vietnam's digital infrastructure, since digital infrastructure serves as the backbone not only for telecommunications but also for the digital economy and digital transformation.

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