Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries says it is investing up to 10 billion rupees ($122 million) for data centers in India and will work in the sector with two foreign companies.
In an announcement on Monday, Reliance said the investment will be made through a joint venture that will be branded Digital Connexion. The venture partners will be Canada-based Brookfield Infrastructure and US-based Digital Realty Trust. The two foreign companies will each have a 33.3% stake in special purpose vehicles set up for data centers, as will Reliance’s telecommunications unit Jio Platforms Ltd.
The partnership is currently working on two data centers. It is constructing a 20-megawatt (MW) data center atop a 100-megawatt (MW) facility in Chennai and a 40-MW data center in Mumbai. The Chennai center is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The joint venture recently acquired 2.15 acres in Mumbai for the creation of a data center.
Serene Nah, managing director and head of Asia-Pacific for Digital Realty, said in a press release “India is a mostly untapped market for the data center industry driven by the rapid adoption of digital business models, the world’s largest population, and a government that recognizes the role of technology for future economic development.”
The data centers will benefit from the increasing usage of various digital services such as streaming services and gaming during the ongoing 5G roll-out in India. Jio currently has 4G and 5G connectivity that covers 99.5% of the Indian population. In June another Indian billionaire, Gautam Adani, raised $213 million to invest in data centers in Noida and Chennai.
According to property firm JLL’s report in April, India’s data center industry is projected to drive 9.1 million square feet of real estate demand and requires an investment of $4.8 billion over the next three years until 2025. JLL also reported that India has added 71.8 MW to make its total data center capacity 171 MW in the second half of last year, or an increase of 31% from the same period the previous year.
Mukesh Ambani was ranked second on India’s 100 Richest list by Forbes Asia released last October, with a net worth of $88 billion. Ambani controls Reliance Industries, which reported $118.8 billion in revenue for the year ended March 31, 2023. The group’s operations range from petroleum refining to retail and digital services.