Gaw Capital forms JV to invest in China data centers

Gaw Capital forms JV to invest in China data centers

Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners announced that a fund under its management has formed a joint-venture partnership with Centrin Data, an Internet Data Center (IDC) developer and operator, to acquire, develop and operate a portfolio of hyper-scale IDC projects in China. 

Gaw Capital will provide expertise in investment underwriting and transaction structuring, project development and management, project financing, corporate governance and capital markets to support future operations, while Centrin Data will focus on site sourcing, IDC design, leasing, operation and financing of the data center, as well as customer service for clients, including government entities, conglomerates and internet companies. 

Humbert Pang, Managing Principal and Head of China for Gaw Capital Partners, said, “Gaw Capital Partners is extremely pleased to form a JV partnership with Centrin Data, one of the first and most successful data center operators in China. We strive to build a robust data center platform that services the needs of businesses and the wider public, combining Centrin’s reputation and experience in the sector with Gaw Capital’s expertise in real estate investing in China. We are delighted to be investing in this exceptional investment opportunity, given that China’s total internet traffic growth rate is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years due to the launch of 5G. The launch of the new data center fund reflects our confidence in data center assets in China. High barriers to entry and demand-supply imbalance makes IDCs near tier-1 cities a very scarce asset. In China, there is an abundant supply of data centers in relatively remote areas, but most of the demand comes from tier-1 and tier-2 cities along China’s eastern coastal line. Geographical demand and supply imbalance make IDCs near tier-1 cities a valuable asset with stable rental income.” 

The first seed project is the Huaqiao Project located in Kunshan, Jiangsu, which is in close proximity to Shanghai – 40km away from Shanghai city center. This project is directly linked to Shanghai’s ‘National Level’ internet exchange point, which enables superior network connectivity with low latency time. The project consists of two phases with a GFA of 300,000 sqm in total. Phase I is currently occupied by a top-tier internet company with 6,400 data center racks available. In Phase II, no less than 25,600 racks will be offered to the potential customers upon its completion in the early 2020s. 

Centrin Data is an industry-leading IDC infrastructure provider of integrated IT services, with over 14 years of experience in China’s internet and data services sector. It has established a long-term strategic relationship with relevant government authorities, suppliers and clients, and has strong capabilities in terms of securing the most valuable resources and electricity for IDC development and operation. Currently, Centrin Data has four IDC projects under management in Beijing; Huaqiao, Jiangsu Province; Wuhan, Hubei Province; and Yantai, Shandong Province, which collectively host more than 20,000 operational data center racks with a further 55,000 racks under construction in the pipeline. Most of the existing data centers are leased to government services, as well as companies in the TMT, banking and insurance sectors.  

Gaw Capital is raising an “IDC Fund”, which will target investment opportunities in China’s IDC assets. The launch of this new fund reflects increasing investor demand for data center assets in China, thanks to technological advancements in 5G communications, 4K transmission, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. There is an ever-growing amount of data traffic that is driving demand for data centers to consolidate servers, store data and manage network support.  

Christina Gaw, Managing Principal and Head of Capital Markets for Gaw Capital Partners, said, “We see significant opportunities in the IDC sector, which is fast becoming a major theme in China as the country deepens its embrace of advanced technology. We sincerely thank our investors for the support and confidence they have given us to growing this platform.”