The Hsin Chong Group is converting a portion of a Wan Chai office tower into a data centre to attract small hi-tech start-ups. Project manager David Tsui said the five floors at 3 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, which comprises a gross floor area of 200,000 square feet, would be split into smaller units ranging from 150 sq ft to 360 sq ft. 'We expect most of the tenants will be young entrepreneurs from the technology business,' he said. Demand for better-quality industrial or office properties from information technology (IT) companies to accommodate data service centres increased in the past month. The monthly rents of the data centre are set from HK$9,500 to HK$26,000 with management fee and furniture included. The developer also provides 24-hour technical support and free broadband services. The average rental of the data centre ranges from HK$40 to HK$60 per sq ft, equivalent to the high rentals of prime offices in Central or Admiralty. However, the developer said it would be a fair price considering the services provided for the tenants. Analysts said flexibility and adequate services of such data centres were of most interest to IT companies. 'For those start-ups which cannot afford renting large properties for their business, fully serviced data centres are in great demand,' one analyst said. According to a DTZ Debenham Tie Leung research report, the forecast supply of data service centres this year is more than two million sq ft. Many developers, such as Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land Development, are also transforming existing industrial buildings into data centres.