BANGKOK • Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, whose family built its fortune around real estate and food and beverages, is betting on a boom in online shopping, videoconferencing and food delivery to drive demand for data storage services, his latest venture.
Frasers Property (Thailand), controlled by Mr Charoen, is investing 7.3 billion baht (S$315 million) in building a data centre in Bangkok as it sees "robust demand" from firms and individual consumers, said Mr Supparat Sivapetchranat, chief executive of STT GDC (Thailand), a Frasers unit.
Mr Charoen's Frasers group owns a majority stake in the operator of the new data centre, with the rest held by ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, which is indirectly wholly owned by Singapore's Temasek.
"The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation among companies and business enterprises in Thailand," Mr Supparat said in an interview on Wednesday.
"This has boosted growth for data centre demand at much higher pace than we have expected."
The data centre, which will start operating early next year, will also benefit from the roll-out of 5G mobile phone services, he said.
Thailand's government raised more than US$3 billion (S$4.1 billion) from auctions of 5G licences in February.
The first phase of the Bangkok centre will have 30,000 sq m of gross floor area and offer co-location services to banking and financial institutions, e-commerce players, global cloud operators and others, according to the company.
Mr Charoen, whose net worth of US$12 billion ranks him as the richest Thai, joins companies such as WHA Corp in increasing investment in technology and automation to lure local and global companies to their facilities.
"There is a projection that the demand for data centres in Thailand will grow more than 20 per cent a year," Mr Supparat said. "This is very strong growth. Every application at the end of the day is on the data centre."