Asia Pacific – A Good Place to Start a Global Expansion

Samuel Lee

When we began building the global footprint of Equinix, Asia-Pacific was our first stop.

Our merger with i-STT and Pihana Pacific back in 2002 gave us footholds in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Today, we’re one of the top colocation and interconnection providers in Asia-Pacific, leading the markets in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. We’re also perfectly positioned for growth in a region where the potential remains huge, even after years of economic expansion.

Our 20th anniversary is a great time to reflect on what it took to build up our strength and position in Asia-Pacific and look ahead to what’s next as the demand for global interconnection at the digital edge accelerates.

Building a foundation for leadership

Two years after Equinix was founded in 1998, all our International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers were in the U.S. But the ambitious vision that co-founders Jay Adelson and Al Avery had for Equinix – to become the steward of the internet’s infrastructure – was global, and it was not long before the company went worldwide, too.

After the merger with i-STT and Pihana Pacific, Equinix had 14 IBX data centers and a broad base for expansion in Asia-Pacific. Over the next several years, we added more data centers in Australia, Japan and Singapore and expanded our footprint in China through a partnership in Shanghai. We have continued to undergo rapid expansion since then.

The growth corresponded with – and was fueled by – the burgeoning economy in Asia-Pacific and its global appeal. Hong Kong, for instance, has become a true gateway to China’s massive markets, especially with the strong support from the mainland China government. Singapore has grown its economy drastically and is consistently ranked in the Top 5 of the annual Global Financial Centre’s index in the recent years. Australia has avoided recession for more than 25 years, sustaining robust economic growth with strong exports for natural resources and services.

It’s no coincidence that as Asia-Pacific’s economy has grown, Equinix has expanded, too. Here’s a look at the key milestones that have strengthened our leadership position throughout Asia-Pacific:

  • Asia Tone (2012): The $230 million acquisition of Hong Kong-based Asia Tone and its six data centers and one disaster recovery center brought the total number of Equinix IBX data centers to over 100 globally for the first time, as we expanded our presence in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. The acquisition further strengthened our position in Asia-Pacific, increased our presence in Shanghai and expanded our customer coverage in Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Bit-isle (2015): This $280 million deal gave us five data centers in Tokyo and one in Osaka, and it made us one of the Top 5 colocation providers in Japan. The deal gave us the ability to create campus-like interconnection environments in our Japanese metros and expand our enterprise customer base. Currently, we have 12 data centers across Japan, 10 in Tokyo and two in Osaka.
  • Metronode (2018): The $804 million acquisition made us the market leader in Australia by tripling our data center portfolio there from five to 15 nationwide. It added facilities in Sydney and Melbourne and gave us presence in new markets, including Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane. All these strategic acquisitions plus our organic expansions in the region have enabled us to continuously grow our business. In the last five years, our revenues in Asia-Pacific have more than doubled, from $363 million in 2013 to $849 million in 2017. Today, we have 40 IBX data centers in 12 metros throughout Asia-Pacific, and we are home to more than 2,100 companies from leading digital industry ecosystems.

Poised for more growth

Growth and expansion have always been central to our values, and we have planned new data centers and expansions in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore in the coming months and years. But the growth we see ahead is not simply about our company-wide commitment to consistently expanding our data center footprint. The economic conditions both regionally and in our industry are further cause for optimism.

This year, the International Monetary Fund called the Asia-Pacific region “the most dynamic of the global economy,” and we’re heading towards a future where the interconnection Equinix enables is a key component of that global economy. Business today depends on secure real-time collaboration between multiple parties in dispersed locations to deliver the quality of service companies need and users expect. Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) and the rising demand for real-time video content will only increase those needs and expectations. Low-latency connectivity is critical to all of it, but that’s impossible with traditional IT architectures that are centralized in a corporate data center, far from users and counterparties.

Instead, to build a digital future, IT needs to be distributed at the digital edge, close to a company’s people, locations, clouds and data, and Equinix’s global interconnection platform allows companies to do that. We are designed to enable digital business at the digital edge, globally and in Asia-Pacific. We’re so excited about the future because we are playing a critical role in helping businesses to embrace digitalization with an interconnection-first strategy.

Furthermore, we know enterprises can benefit from the multicloud interconnection we support on Platform Equinix® – particularly as the new capabilities of Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric) extend to Asia-Pacific. The new inter-metro connectivity, already available between Sydney-Melbourne and Tokyo-Osaka, will allow customers to connect in near real time to service providers, suppliers and other business, or to their own infrastructure within Equinix in the region. And we are going to roll out the new capabilities across the region by the end of this quarter. We have been putting the customer at the center of everything we do – and we will continuously focus on customers’ needs and help them succeed!

I’ve been with Equinix for more than 18 years. I’m proud of what Equinix has become and feel grateful to have played a part in it, in particular the exciting growth journey of the Asia-Pacific business. The even more exciting future, however, is yet to come, because the tremendous growth we’ve already seen in Asia-Pacific is only the beginning.

Samuel Lee
Samuel Lee Former President, Equinix Asia Pacific