AT&T Sets Up IDC In Hong Kong

AT&T’s Hong Kong headquartered Asia Pacific Group has officially opened its 8,000 square-foot Internet data center (IDC) in the SAR, the third of three regional hubs in Asia Pacific.

“Based on strong growth in our networking business and increasing customer demand, we’ve decided to move to a larger, more secure facility and significantly upgrade our equipment,” said Kevin Ng, general manager, Hong Kong and South China, AT&T Business.

Costing less than US$1 million to build, the new IDC is housed in the MEGA-iAdvantage building in Chai Wan, and boasts at least 5,000 square feet of additional floor space compared to AT&T’s previous center. It is connected via 45Mbps DS3 links to the U.S., as well as to two other IDCs in Tokyo and Singapore.

The new facility in Hong Kong has deployed a range of equipment from Lucent, Sun and Cisco to service customers in Hong Kong’s publishing, finance, petrochemical and retail industries. Ng said the IDC is targeting multinational corporations (MNCs), as well as local customers in the SAR.

Services provided include fully integrated network management, hosting services and dedicated high-speed connections to major cities in the region. The IDC also offers customized network solutions, managed protocol networks, end-to-end managed security services, leased lines and remote access dial-up with global roaming.

Said IDC manager Herbert Tang, “What distinguishes us from the competition is that we have vast experience in network management and some of the most highly skilled professionals in the industry. Instead of simply fulfilling customer requests, we conduct a thorough survey of the customers’ needs in order to design, build and implement a solution that is appropriate for their requirements.

“In addition, we have some of the most stringent operating standards and procedures in our industry. We conduct regular security checks and can offer customers service level agreements to support even the most demanding mission-critical applications.”

Indeed, the company is bullish about the IDC business in Hong Kong and the region, despite increased competition from the likes of SingTel and talks that demand for such managed services has been sluggish, as evidenced by IDC facility closures such as iAsiaWorks’ quick exit from the Hong Kong scene just last week.

“Overall there seems to be a surplus supply of data centers,” Ng said. “We believe we will succeed because rather than starting with a large facility and trying to find the business to fill it, we started with a small facility and we’re growing it as customer demand increases.

“Furthermore, with the downturn in the economy, many companies cannot keep their own it staff, so this presents us with an opportunity to provide outsourcing services.”

Ng added that AT&T has hired at least five additional staff members with the opening of the new facility, increasing total headcount to 45. This number is set to grow, especially if the IDC hits its targeted deadline for profitability in Q1 next year.

“We cannot disclose our forecast profit figures, but if you look at some leading analyst reports, they predict that the industry will be worth an estimated US$500 million in the Asia Pacific region by 2003, or about three times current demand,” he said.

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