Surge seen in Philippine data centers

By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

THE Philippines is attracting expansive data center interest in anticipation of further e-commerce demand, business leaders said at a forum on Thursday.

The lockdowns declared in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to increased online shopping from consumers working from home. Representatives from technology and professional services firms said at the Asia CEO forum that they expect heightened demand to continue.

“Some companies now in the Philippines are in the process of building mega-data centers in Manila, in the Philippines — anticipating the surge in demand for data driven by increased e-commerce activities,” PwC Philippines Vice-Chairman and Assurance Managing Partner Roderick Danao said.

The Philippines, he said, is still lagging behind countries like Vietnam in terms of e-commerce value.

John Gonzales, vice-president and head for enterprise digital solutions at PLDT Enterprise, said that there are growth opportunities in the country given its consumer-centric economy.

“The good thing about where technology is today is it’s actually easy to access now primarily because we do have a lot more options,” he said. “There’s actually a lot of platforms already that are available, that will provide you that kind of digital services that a lot of these businesses require.”

Local consumers and business owners should become more aware of the accessibility of such technology, he added.

“We’re building mega-data centers primarily because a lot of these international platform providers are actually coming into the Philippines providing e-commerce solutions and other digital related solutions,” he said.

Various firms have recently announced plans to build data centers in the Philippines. Alibaba Cloud said it would start to build its first data center in the country by the end of this year, while Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. announced that it would construct a P1-billion data center in Cebu.

Steve Sy, founder and chief executive officer of Great Deals E-Commerce Corp., said that shopping through livestream and instant commerce will become the next trends in online selling.

“Delivery in less than an hour… that would be a major trend that will come up,” he said.

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