£10m Chinese Investment Fuels Soho Data Centre

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Follow on: Google +

A Chinese media firm has invested £10m into the construction of a media-oriented data centre in London

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Monday announced that Beijing-based Xiking Culture Media would invest £10 million in a Soho-based data centre dedicated to the video and TV industries.

The investment was part of a wider package of trade deals between the UK and China worth more than £2.6 billion, according to the UK government.

State-of-the-art facility

The investment by Xiking, which already operates a British television channel called Propeller TV, will allow Soho Data Holdings to move ahead with the construction of a carrier-neutral, 4,000 square metre facility supporting the television, 3D animation and Internet TV industries.

The data centre is to provide services including co-location, managed services and high-yield computing capacity supporting applications such as CG rendering.

Soho Data Holdings already operates Soho Data Centre, a smaller data centre providing in-house services to sister businesses Vision IPTV and Playout247.

The new facility will be located in Cleveland Street and will come online by this summer, according to Soho Data Holdings.

Soho Data Holdings chief executive John Mills said the investment would create a valuable resource for London-based organisations.

“This investment enables us to offer an unrivalled service to London’s creative and visual effects companies, enabling them to create, store and produce digital content quickly, easily and cost effectively,” he stated. “It is a key part of our comprehensive, end to end platform for Internet TV broadcast and kicks-off the development of our relationship with our Chinese partners.”

Xiking president Ye Maoxi said the deal would establish new opportunities for China-UK collaborations.

“Soho Data provides the platform to build a new generation of Chinese-British partnerships within the creative, cultural and media industries,” he stated.

Data centre users agreed:  “This £3m deal between Soho Data Holdings and Xiking Culture Media in Beijing will be crucial to processing and transferring large quantities of data between London’s creative hub and the Chinese capital,” said David Galton-Fenzi, sales and marketing director at value-added distributor Zycko.

London data centres booming

Image: Algy3289,Wikimedia

London continues to boast of having the largest single data centre market in Europe, with total raised floor space in London forecast to increase to 300,000 square metres by 2015, according to a report in September.

The report pointed to London’s ‘interconnected ecosystem’ as one of the main drivers, despite the high cost of real estate within the M25.

High prices have not deterred new data centre builds within London, such as TelecityGroup, Equinix and Telehouse Europe which are now coming on stream. These facilities have helped to meet customer demand but have resulted in some softening of prices, claims Tariff.

“The UK has a lot to offer China in terms of creative services and this new Soho-located data centre will be crucial in facilitating this offering,” said Heather Baker, a director at PR specialists TopLine Communications. “Creative services will be one of the UK’s major future exports, which we can supply in quantity and quality to the world’s emerging economies.”