As mentioned in my last blog post, 2018 was a very special year for us in Asia-Pacific and we’re excited to broaden our vision and deepen our roots in the region in 2019. Following hot on the heels of our expansion plan for our fourth International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center in Singapore – SG4, I am thrilled to share some more exciting news. We are entering into a whole new market – South Korea – with a new IBX data center in Seoul, scheduled to open in Q3 2019.
Just like the rest of our 200 IBX data centers around the world, the new data center – called SL1 – will provide interconnection and colocation services to businesses in support of their digital transformation initiatives and adoption of cloud services. Offering a colocation space of 18,000+ square feet and an initial capacity of 550 cabinets in the first phase, SL1 is set to elevate interconnectivity regionally and globally with a wide range of connectivity options.
You might ask, of all the metros in the region, why South Korea? To answer this, let me talk you through some of the golden opportunities we have seen in the country:
Vibrant digital economy
Home to some of world-leading electronics companies, South Korea has grown rapidly in recent decades, with 15 local enterprises making the Fortune 500 List in 2017. It is now one of the top 15 largest economies in the world and one of the most vibrant digital economies globally – with high bandwidth and advanced applications supporting many of its industries. We see it as a high potential market that stands to benefit from access to our vast array of ecosystem opportunities.
And once again, South Korea took the top spot in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index, and comes in second globally in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Development Index. What’s more, the country’s total R&D investment reached 78.8 trillion Won (US$69.73 billion) in 2017, and ranked fifth among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries after the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The strong ICT developments of the country definitely make it a key market for many of today’s global enterprises, meaning greater local demand for an interconnection platform that can enable direct and secure access to network, cloud, and content provider ecosystems.
The advent of 5G
This year is also the right time for us to expand into South Korea, as it coincides with the impending nationwide launch of 5G networks in March 2019. Recently, all the three of South Korea’s leading mobile operators launched commercial 5G services in the country, making it only the second country in the world to do so after the United States. The introduction of 5G will usher in a new era of next-generation services and breakthroughs in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), all of which rely on data transactions at higher speeds and volumes, with lower latencies.
Carrier neutrality matters
South Korea has a relatively mature data center market, made up of a mix of domestic and global players. Whilst enterprises and consumers have access to multiple internet service providers (ISP) across the country, many data centers are owned and/or operated by telecommunications companies. This has resulted in a huge demand for carrier-neutral data centers like Equinix.
Carrier-neutral data centers are particularly important to businesses in today’s fast-paced economy as they enable users not to be tied to one particular service provider. Instead, they offer a variety of choices, meaning that enterprises can enjoy greater scalability to meet the changing needs of their businesses and have multiple options available to them in the event of an emergency.
Rising demand for overseas expansion
South Korea is one of Asia’s strongest economies and has drawn the attention of many overseas companies that are looking to expand into the market. As a result, over recent years we have heard from our global customers about their interest in South Korea, as well as South Korean companies who are keen on expanding overseas. It was this demand that prompted us to open our first data center in Seoul, to address the rising needs from our customers, who are always at the heart of our business initiatives.
As local enterprises start to explore overseas opportunities, they will look for service providers that can help them seamlessly connect with other parts of the world. With our carrier-neutrality, network-density, an unmatched global footprint of 200 data centers across 52 markets and 24 countries, and vast ecosystems worldwide, Equinix is the ideal choice for both global companies looking inward and South Korean enterprises looking outward.
What the future has in store
This market expansion is significant to Equinix. It supports our ongoing global expansion initiative, and further cements our leadership position in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, we also believe that the launch of SL1 will play a key part in accelerating South Korea’s digitalization processes.
In the coming years, we will endeavor to capture and address customer demand for carrier-neutral data centers in South Korea with continuous expansion, and nurture seamless interconnectivity among all parties including enterprises, service providers, cloud and content spaces in different ecosystems to deliver immediate actions and optimal user experience.
We are eager to start this new chapter of our journey in Asia-Pacific and we cannot wait to help our global and South Korean customers along their road to digital transformation via Platform Equinix®.