Hanmi Global, HPE partner to tap Korean data centre market
US-based cloud computing and tech giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is the latest international company to make a play for the burgeoning South Korean data centre market. The Korean cloud sector is booming, with massive ongoing investment into the country’s digital infrastructure growing year on year. Korea is a strong contender for the global 5G leader, home to massive tech firms like Samsung and SK Hynix.
However, the South Korean market is notoriously hostile to foreign tech firms looking to muscle in on the action. Western giants that dominate their home markets - as well as dozens of others throughout the world - have struggled over the past few years to gain a foothold on the peninsula.
The country takes great pains to exclude western tech firms in favour of its own homegrown alternatives. Google Maps in South Korea works only slightly better than Google Maps in the DPRK; Naver - the country’s answer to Google, along with a few other domestic firms, dominates the market. Messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have little to no foothold here; Kakao Talk is the country’s de facto form of OTT communication.
There’s a concerted effort to keep it Korean and, as a result, foreign tech companies have had a hard time finding a foothold in one of the world’s most advanced digital economies.
Korea’s largest tech firms also tend to be diverse beasts.
Kakao, for example, owns the country’s most popular messaging app, dominates 90% of the country’s taxi-hailing market, and owns Korea’s largest music distribution company and most popular streaming service - all of which present direct obstacles to both Uber and Spotify, which are currently fighting for their own slices of very heavily-subscribed pie.
The fact that Korea makes almost no effort to prevent four or five companies from dominating just about every one of the country’s different industries also means that, when it comes to data centres, foreigners tend to receive a frosty reception. It makes sense, when the SK Group - which owns one of the country’s leading telecom carriers, develops AI engines, and is the country’s second-largest chip maker - has been investing heavily into the data centre sector itself lately.
The solution, which is being successfully pulled off by Singaporean data centre group STT, and which HPE announced it would also be attempting on Wednesday morning, is to partner up with a domestic firm in order to give your entry into the market a few much needed Korean bona fides.
Local news outlet The Korean Herald reported this morning that HPE and Korean construction project management firm Hanmi Global have signed a memorandum of understanding to “promote South Korea as the next data centre hub of Asia”.
HanmiGlobal’s President, Lee Sang-ho, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Korea Managing Director, Kim Young-chae, signed to the document on Wednesday, which covers the various ways in which the new joint venture will manage, build, and (perhaps most importantly) market a string of data centre projects in South Korea.
Under the agreement, Hanmi Global will be providing project management services, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise will offer the technology and consulting expertise to build and outfit the data centres themselves.
“We are very happy to partner with HPE, the leading provider of cloud technology infrastructures,” said Lee Sang-ho, president of Hanmi Global to The Korean Herald this morning.
“The two companies hope to contribute to mutual development with Hanmi Global’s know-how in project management, as well as put efforts to help client companies successfully make profit through their data centres.
Microsoft hyperscale plans prompt Lab3 New Zealand launch
Lab3, an Australian cloud migration specialist, has announced it is launching in New Zealand after being prompted by a surge in demand for cloud services and Microsoft’s investment into hyperscale data centres.
The company, which was founded in 2017, has appointed David Boyes as Chief Executive Officer and Rich Anderson as Chief Operating Officer. According to Companies Office records, Boyes and Anderson each have a 10% share in Lab3’s New Zealand business. Commenting on cloud migration, Boyes said: “Across New Zealand, in government and every industry sector, organisations are looking to migrate to the cloud to modernise their technology environments.” He added that the Coronavirus pandemic was fuelling a “ need to tap into the power of data, facilitate remote work and meet public expectations of a virtual world.”
Chris Cook, Group CEO of Lab3 said the business was "first and foremost about client success" which drives the company’s product innovation and motivation to expand into New Zealand. “We look forward to working closely with Microsoft to deliver more for New Zealand clients,” he said.
Microsoft’s New Zealand hyperscale data centre investment plan
Microsoft’s investment into a hyperscale data centre region in New Zealand meant the resulting facilities will aim to provide several organisations with access to the security and scalability of a public cloud without sending data offshore.
Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, said: “We’ve seen a tremendous acceleration in cloud migration over the past year as organisations have responded to global disruption and conversely, recognised the global opportunities a digital operation brings.
“Our research with IDC shows public cloud technologies are set to create 102,000 local jobs and add [NZ]$30 billion to the New Zealand economy over the next four years, so we’re delighted to welcome a partner of LAB3’s calibre to New Zealand, to help more organisations realise those gains even faster," she added.
Lab3’s clients include several fintech organisations, a global software vendor, Australian federal and state government agencies, and insurance and banking corporations. The company employs over 200 staff and has three advanced specialisations across migrations, Azure virtual desktop, and security.