With Rs 1,200 cr bet, Ascendas joins India’s data centre gold rush

With Rs 1,200 cr bet, Ascendas joins India’s data centre gold rush
Sanjeev Dasgupta, Chief Executive Officer, Ascendas India Trust
5 Jul, 2021

As India enters an age of data centre boom, thanks to the Covid-19 led digital acceleration and the country’s data policy, developers are ramping up infrastructure projects to keep up with the demand. On Monday, Singapore based Ascendas  Property Fund Trustee announced that it will invest $160.93 million (about Rs 1,200 crore) to develop a data centre campus in Airoli, Navi Mumbai.  

Ascendas Property Trustee is the trustee-manager of Ascendas India Trust (a-iTrust). The company currently has 14.4 million sq ft of office space spread across Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai. As at 31 December 2020, a-iTrust’s asset under management was at $2.1 billion. 

Through the data centre, the real estate company hopes to tap into cloud service providers and large domestic enterprises. 

Watch: LDCS’ Sanjay Motwani on AI-driven connected data centres 

Ascendas said that the 6.6-acre site at Airoli will be developed in phases. Once completed, the potential built up area will be around 575,000 square ft. The first building however will take until the second quarter of 2024 and will have an area of 325,000 sq.ft. Overall, the campus will include two such buildings.  

“The large market size (India) combined with the increasing trends towards data localisation validates our market entry strategy. We look to improve our portfolio through diversification in asset classes such as data centres and life sciences” Sanjeev Dasgupta, Chief Executive Officer of the Trustee-Manager of Ascendas India Trust, said.  

The project is supported by Singapore’s real estate giant CapitaLand. The amount being invested by CapitalLand was not disclosed.  

A May 2021 study by global real estate services firm JLL pegged the total potential for datacenters in India at 1,007 MW by 2023, at an estimated compounded annual growth rate of 31%. Nasscom expects investment in this segment to reach a cumulative $28 billion between 2019 and 2015.  

“We are acquiring the site for development of our first data centre in India following the recent acquisition of our first hyperscale data centre in China, one of the largest data centre markets in the world,” Ms He Jihong, CEO  Data Centre, and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer, CapitaLand Group, said in a statement.  

“With this new development in India, the Group’s investment in data centres this year has amounted to about S$1.7 billion. We will continue to build and leverage our expertise in data centre design, development and operations,” Jihong added.  

Yotta NM1, with 30,000 racks and 210MW power capacity, is currently the largest data centre in India. Due to land and power availability, Navi Mumbai has become home to several upcoming data centre projects in India. Earlier this year, NTT said it is investing $2 billion to build its data centre capabilities in the country. Out of the six new data center parks that it plans to build over the next three years, three are coming up near Mumbai --  Mahape, Airoli (both Navi Mumbai), and Chandivali.  

Singapore based data centre provider Princeton Digital Group, in March this year, announced its foray in the Indian market. PDG’s Navi Mumbai project, which is expected to have 48MW of critical IT capacity across two buildings, is aimed to be service ready by as early as 2022.