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Equinix & GIC commit $525m to xScale data centers in Seoul

Equinix is funnelling US$525 million into a new initiative to build two new data centers in Korea, in partnership with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC.

The limited liability partnership will enable the development of two Equinix xScale data centers in Seoul, boosting Equinix's presence in the country and supplementing the operation of Equinix's International Business Exchange (IBX) data center (SL1), also located in Seoul.

The SL1 facility houses global hyperscalers including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud, via the Equinix Fabric.

The two new xScale data centers will be named SL2x and SL3x. They will also provide 45MW of power capacity to hyperscalers and cloud providers, and they also provide access to the Equinix suite of interconnection services.

The company points to IDC's Korea Cloud IT Infrastructure Market Forecast, 2021 report, which suggests that the Cloud IT infrastructure market in the country could grow 15% in the next five years, reaching US$1.86 billion in sales by 2025.

Further research from Equinix's Global Interconnection Index says that by 2024, Seoul could play home to the most interconnection bandwidth from hyperscalers in the Asia Pacific region.

According to Equinix president and CEO Charles Meyers, more organizations seek a digital-first strategy, achievable through technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), 5G, and machine learning (ML).

“Korea and the broader Asia-Pacific market are both enablers and beneficiaries as organizations prioritize digital transformation. To address demand for cloud and digital infrastructure, we have continued to invest in the region through the expansion of International Business Exchange (IBX) capacity and locations, as well as the expansion of our hyperscale program, xScale, in Australia, and now Korea.

The company's operations in Korea are being fuelled by 100% renewable energy and the company will align the new xScale facilities to operate in the same manner.

The company states, “Equinix has continued to make advancements in the way it designs, builds and operates its data centers with high energy-efficiency standards, and all xScale data centers are expected to be LEED certified (or the equivalent regional certification).

The planned data centers also boost Equinix's xScale data center portfolio to more than US$8 billion across 36 facilities. Currently, Equinix operates seven xScale data centers.

As part of the joint venture agreement with GIC, Equinix will own 20% equity interest while GIC will own the remaining 80%. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and closing conditions and is expected to close in Q1 2022.

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