Hong Kong’s Success Story behind the Convergence of the Subsea and Data Centers

One-on-one with SUNeVision’s CEO & Executive Director Raymond Tong

With more than 20 years of business management and operations experience around different industries, SUNeVision’s CEO & Executive Director Raymond Tong is a dynamic leader with broad exposure, having spearheaded growth initiatives in various roles. Tong sat down with InterGlobix Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief to share the background behind the creation of SUNeVision, its current product strategy and future growth plans.

Can you talk about the history of SUNeVision Holding, and what your product strategy has been?

SUNeVision is a 21-year-old company. We are the technology arm of Sun Hung Kai Properties and the largest data center provider in Hong Kong. That’s the time when Internet 1.0 started, subsea cables had begun to gain critical importance in the Internet infrastructure and were landing in Hong Kong, in the AsiaPac region. Sun Hung Kai Properties was one of the largest real estate companies in Hong Kong. In 2000 the company’s Chairman, Mr. Raymond Kwok, had the brilliant idea of establishing a data center company. It would fill the need for hosting servers created by the advent of Internet 1.0, subsea cables and telco companies. Thereafter, floor by floor and building by building, we started converting traditional real estate into technology real estate, i.e. data centers. 20 years later, we now have five data centers in Hong Kong.

From a strategy standpoint, we are completely carrier neutral, giving us the ability to land nine out of the 11 subsea cables coming into Hong Kong. The subsea cable operators deployed their network PoPs in our data center, which became a catalyst for the development of our interconnection hub, MEGA-i. As we continued to build our carrier-dense and carrier-neutral interconnection ecosystem over the last two decades, we have seen another big growth opportunity in the hyperscale business. Currently we have around 30 percent market share in Hong Kong in terms of data center business.

What is the scale of your data center campus in Hong Kong at the moment? What are your plans for growth?

Currently, four of our five data centers are brownfield developments, where we converted existing industrial buildings into data centers. About six years ago, we got into greenfield hyperscale development. Our fifth data center, MEGA Plus, is built ground up for hyperscalers and cloud providers. All five sites currently represent 70MW of critical IT load.

We have acquired two additional land parcels for future development. These will be mega scale as our sixth and seventh data centers which will be named as MEGA Gateway and MEGA IDC respectively. We will be building 20MW and 120MW multi-tenant sites at these locations. Last month, we also announced our eighth site, which will be a 10MW site, fully leased by a single hyperscaler. All of these data centers will be operational in 2022, when our combined capacity across the eight data centers will be 280MW. So, we are expecting to grow from the current 1.4 million sq. ft. Gross Floor Area (GFA) to around 3 million sq. ft. GFA.

Our plan is to continue our growth strategy based on a two-pronged approach –interconnection hub and hyperscale provider.

Hong Kong’s Strategic Location

Your data center campus in Hong Kong is known to be the most interconnected in the region. Can you share the methodology behind developing this ecosystem?

Not only is MEGA-i the most connected data center in Hong Kong, it is also the Asia’s number one connectivity hub. In fact, it is one of the around 15 or so major interconnection hubs globally. These interconnection hubs are locations where the peering takes place and various networks handoff traffic from one to the other.

With those nine out of 11 Hong Kong subsea cables landing with us, MEGA-i also is a true representation of subsea and data center convergence. As we started landing subsea cables in our data center campus, we then made a concerted effort to attract more and more network carriers, in the last 20 years more Internet Service Providers and recently leading to Cloud gateways and more enterprise networks nodes. Currently, we have over 200+ network providers and around 15,000 cross-connects, the majority of those are Physical cross-connects. Just last year, we launched SUNeVision Cloud eXchange (SCX), a cloud exchange platform that enables our customers to connect to multiple cloud service providers through Virtual cross-connect instantaneously just in a few clicks. Our location became a magnet to attract anyone who needed robust and scalable connectivity options. Additionally, we are connected to all our data centers in Hong Kong, just one cross-connect away from all of them.

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