Leading cloud companies could invest in PHL this year

TWO MAJOR cloud-computing investors could enter the Philippines by the end of 2021, the Board of Investments (BoI) said.

BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said investors from China and the United States have expressed interest in the Philippines. The potential investors are from the so-called hyperscaler segment of the industry — large global companies offering cloud and networking technologies at scale.

“I’m pretty sure within this year we could have at least one Chinese hyperscaler, at least one US hyperscaler,” Mr. Rodolfo said at a virtual event Wednesday.

“They’re really looking at the green energy market here as a main driver and also looking at the data privacy regulatory framework for the Philippines.”

The BoI is in talks with companies like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. Ongoing talks with companies that have shown interest in the Philippines range from “exploratory to advanced,” Mr. Rodolfo said.

“We are actually targeting hyperscalers in particular those who are very conscious in reducing their carbon footprint.”

Other companies like Oracle and IBM Cloud can co-locate with local data center providers like PLDT, Inc., Globe Telecom, Inc., Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., and DITO Telecommunity Corp., he added.

Mr. Rodolfo in a Viber message to reporters also noted that one company is looking to invest $800 million. He did not disclose further details.

Trade Secretary and BoI Chairman Ramon M. Lopez at the same event said the government is targeting hyperscalers in its global investment campaign.

“Hyperscalers act as enablers of various industries and are the backbone of digital-native industries such as financial technology and digital banking. Their increased presence will create a multiplier effect, especially with the potential increase in demand for renewable energy and data center developers,” he said.

“In addition, they create potential investment value in terms of generating foreign direct investments, improving internet connectivity, investment in IT infrastructure, manpower upskilling, and renewable energy.”

He said the Philippine cloud computing market is expected to grow to $3 billion by 2025, citing a report from GlobalData.

Business leaders in June said the Philippines is attracting expansive data center interest in anticipation of further e-commerce demand. PwC Philippines Vice-Chairman and Assurance Managing Partner Roderick Danao said companies in the Philippines are in the process of building mega-data centers as they anticipate a surge in demand for data driven by e-commerce activities.

PLDT, Inc. in May said that it plans to increase its international capacity by five times by the end of this year through the Jupiter submarine telecommunications cable system. The company said it aims to help make the Philippines a hub connecting Southeast Asia to the United States, indicating infrastructure as a top for draw for hyperscaler firms.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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