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Philippines seen to be next big player in data center business


By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

ST TELEMEDIA Global Data Centres (STT GDC Philippines) sees greater demand for data centers in the country amid its strategic location.

“As everybody wants to digitalize, the demand is increasing worldwide, in every country. You need to have the opportunity to satisfy that demand, there’s no choice,” STT GDC Philippines Chief Executive Officer Carlo-magno E. Malana said in a chance interview.

Mr. Malana said demand will keep growing as people will need storage for their content amid increasing digitalization.

“You’re not going to stop taking selfies, you’re not going to stop making TikTok content, you’re not going to stop doing digitalization of the banks. Everything is just going to keep on growing,” he said.

“So, the question is, where would the computers sit to support all of this digitalization? And that’s where the Philippines becomes a viable alternative. Because, as a country, our biggest advantage is location,” he added.

Mr. Malana said the country sits at the “nexus” of submarine cables, which most of the data around the world travels through.

“All of those cables, if you look at the map, converge in Southeast Asia, in the Philippines. We are the closest country to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, [Japan], South Korea, and even to the US and Guam, we are the closest,” he said.

“If you start going further west, it’s further. And so, it makes so much sense for us to be that next player where the rest of the world interested in serving the region needs to locate these facilities,” Mr. Malana added.

Along with increased demand for data centers and the movement of the telecommunication companies into the business comes the need for more data professionals, the official said.

“The nice thing is we are looking for the future. As the Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy mentioned, they are looking at programs to develop talent,” Mr. Malana said.

“I think that the country is there, we just need to lift up the level of our expectations so that we can run a facility where we are essentially entrusted with people’s businesses. And these businesses cannot go down,” he said.

With this idea in mind, the company has been talking with schools in the hopes of creating a specialization for the data center business, the official added.

“We are working with the schools to create a digital infrastructure specialization so that our students will be prepared to join this industry,” he said.

Citing an Oxford study, Mr. Malana said each 20 megawatts of investment in data centers generates about 28,000 jobs, indirectly.

“What happens is, beside the data center itself, you have to worry about the cooling, running the data center, servicing and there’s also the people that have to do the connections. It starts creating this ecosystem,” he said.

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