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Vietnam’s Data Centre Market: Emerging Globally

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Vietnam is rapidly establishing itself as a significant player in the global data centre market, driven by various factors including the increasing digitalisation efforts of its domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the tech-savvy nature of its young population, the rollout of 5G technology, and a rising demand for self-reliant digital infrastructure and data sovereignty.

The Vietnamese data centre market has experienced remarkable growth, surpassing US$1 billion last year, almost doubling the figures recorded in 2022. Notably, the majority of participants in this burgeoning sector are domestic telecommunications companies, indicative of the local industry’s growing capabilities and investment in digital infrastructure.

A leading real estate consultancy firm, reports that there are presently 28 data centre projects spread across the country, boasting a combined capacity of 45 MW and involving 44 service providers. This surge in activity is further underscored by the entry of major global players, one of which announced the establishment of data centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in August 2022.

Despite this rapid expansion, Vietnam’s data centre market remains relatively young compared to more mature markets in the region such as Singapore and Tokyo. While international cloud service providers have yet to make a significant imprint, partnerships between international telecommunications companies and local counterparts have facilitated market entry. Additionally, small and medium-scale projects initiated by domestic firms are underway in key cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, showcasing a diverse ecosystem of data centre development.

The driving forces behind Vietnam’s data centre market expansion are manifold. The CEO of a prominent real estate firm, highlights rapid population growth, urbanisation trends, high internet penetration rates, and active digital adoption in various sectors including banking and business operations. These factors collectively contribute to a conducive environment for data centre investment and growth.

However, despite these promising indicators, Vietnam faces challenges in scaling its data centre infrastructure to meet global standards relative to its population size. Issues such as construction complexities, a shortage of skilled labour, and logistical hurdles in the supply chain pose obstacles to domestic investors.

To navigate these challenges, industry experts recommend a strategic focus on larger-scale data centre projects over smaller, fragmented facilities. Southern provinces, with their ample land reserves, access to reliable electricity within industrial zones, and proximity to major national submarine cable landing stations, emerge as promising locations for future data centre developments. Additionally, the prevalence of renewable energy sources, constituting a quarter of the national energy mix, provides a sustainability advantage for prospective data centre investors.

In the broader context, data centres are poised to play a pivotal role in facilitating Vietnam’s digital transformation journey. While the market is still in its nascent stages, the anticipation of favourable investment policies in the near future signals a growing appetite among foreign investors to capitalise on the country’s burgeoning data centre sector and contribute to its digital evolution.

Vietnam is forging ahead with plans to establish clusters of IT parks and software chains, signalling a concerted effort to bolster its digital ecosystem and elevate global competitiveness within the production value chain. Despite notable strides in IT park development under the 2020 master plan, challenges persist, particularly regarding connectivity and collaboration among these parks and industrial zones, especially in larger urban centres where potential remains largely untapped.

By integrating this initiative into broader national ICT infrastructure development and regional socio-economic planning, Vietnam underscores its commitment to harnessing technology as a driver of economic growth and innovation.

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