Mah Sing joins Malaysia’s data centre gold rush with BDC tie-up

Mah Sing joins Malaysia’s data centre gold rush with BDC tie-up
Bottom row (from left): Benjamin Ong, Mah Sing’s Property Subsidiaries CEO and Eric Fan, president of Bridge Data Centres. Top row (from left): Leong Hoy Kum, Mah Sing’s founder and group MD; Haji Fadillah Yusof, Malaysia’s Deputy PM cum Minister of Energy Transition and Water Transformation (PETRA); and Patrick Png, BDC’s VP of Solutions, APAC.

Malaysian property developer Mah Sing Group threw its hat in the country’s increasingly crowded data centre ring on Thursday by launching a new site in Southville City and announcing Bridge Data Centres (BDC) as its first partner.

Mah Sing said it has earmarked 150 acres of land bank at Southville City – which sits 19 km from Kuala Lumpur City Centre – for further expansion into a data centre hub with planned capacity of up to 500MW. The collaboration with BDC will occupy an initial 17.55 acres of land for a data centre with planned capacity of up to 100MW.

The site, dubbed “Mah Sing DC Hub@ Southville City”, is envisioned as “a holistic digital infrastructure ecosystem” designed to accommodate the demands of hyperscale, retail, and enterprise service providers. Mah Sing also expects to draw a diverse clientele from tech corporations, telecoms players, and financial institutions by engineering its data centres to support AI computation and large-scale data storage.

Mah Sing said it selected Southville City for the hub partly because it’s a mature township with the necessary essential infrastructure to support the project, and partly because the site is around 20 km away from existing data centre hubs Cyberjaya and Bukit Jalil.

The planned DC hub is also less than 50km from Telekom Malaysia's upcoming new cable landing station in Morib, Selangor for the SEA-ME-WE-6 submarine cable system. Once the landing station is completed (which is scheduled to be in the first quarter of 2025), Mah Sing said it will be able to provide dark fibre for the hub.

The announcement marks BDC’s fifth hyperscale data centre project in the country. BDC currently operates two data centres in Cyberjaya, one in Bukit Jalil and another in Johor.

“This initiative not only boosts our operational capabilities but also highlights Malaysia's increasing significance as a digital hub in the Asia Pacific region,” said BDC president Eric Fan.

Mah Sing’s entry into Malaysia’s data centre business comes as just about everyone else is doing likewise. This week alone, Google announced plans to develop its first data centre in Malaysia, while Equinix officially opened its first two data centres in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

Last week, Malaysian real estate firm Sime Darby Property made its first move into the data centre game via a partnership with Pearl Computing Malaysia to develop a hyperscale data center at its business park in Elmina, northwest of Kuala Lumpur.

In April, Malaysian property development firm Crescendo Corporation Berhad (CCB) said Microsoft had purchased a plot of land in Johor for a cash consideration of RM132.4 million (US$27.8 million). A few weeks later, Microsoft pledged to invest US$2.2 billion over the next four years in new cloud and AI infrastructure in the country.

ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) entered Malaysia in November 2023 via a JV with Basis Bay to build and operate green data centre projects in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya. A week later, STT GDC said it would also build a data centre in Johor.

EdgeConneX entered the Malaysian market in September 2023 with plans to build data centres in Kuala Lumpur’s Central Business District, Bukit Jalil and Cyberjaya with a combined capacity of nearly 300 MW.

Local players are also busy chasing the DC dollar. YTL Power International is collaborating with GPU chip maker Nvidia to build an AI data centre in YTL’s 500-MW Green Data Center Park in Johor by the middle of next year. Telekom Malaysia is also said to be exploring plans to build a new hyperscale data centre to expand its capacity from the existing Klang Valley Data Centre (KVDC) and Iskandar Puteri Data Centre (IPDC).

At the start of this year, Malaysia’s Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) formed a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Investment of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to develop data centres in Malaysia and boost its status as a regional data centre hub.

Mah Sing's founder and group MD Leong Hoy Kum said the company is looking to diversify its revenue streams beyond property development, which currently covers high-rise residences, townships, offices, retail spaces and an increasing focus on industrial projects.

“Entering the data centre market allows the Group to establish recurring income, crucial for a more resilient financial foundation amidst market fluctuations,” he said in a statement.

Leong also said Mah Sing is looking at other sites for future data center projects. “Beyond Southville City, Mah Sing's other landbanks, such as MSS Business Park in Sepang, Selangor, which is also close to TM's upcoming new cable landing station in Morib, present potential for similar data centre collaborations.”

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