A new era of high-rise data centres has arrived in land-constrained Hong Kong, which could help lead more online businesses to locate and grow in the city. PCCW Solutions, the information-technology services arm of Richard Li Tzar-kai's flagship company, yesterday launched its largest data centre - a 16-storey facility converted from an old industrial building in Kwai Chung. "We see the pipeline [of customers] building up in the next two years. That is why we are investing in redeveloping old industrial buildings into data centres," George Fok Yiu-cheung, the managing director of PCCW Solutions, told the South China Morning Post . Fok said building vertical data centre infrastructure on converted industrial sites provided a quick way to meet rising demand for the facilities, especially from financial institutions, multinationals and internet firms doing e-commerce and other "cloud" activities. Buying land and constructing the building would require at least 40 months, while a conversion project would need about 10 months, he said. PCCW Solutions, which posted HK$1.46 billion in first-half revenue, has identified 13 old industrial buildings, out of 326 sites listed by the government for redevelopment, where fast-track data-centre conversion projects can be done. Data centres are secure, temperature-controlled facilities built to house large-capacity servers and data-storage systems, with multiple power sources and high-bandwidth internet connections. Redevelopment was also "more cost-effective" as expenses were focused on information-technology infrastructure, not land, Fok said. Development costs in Tseung Kwan O, where operators build from the ground up, run into billions of dollars. NTT Communications invested HK$3 billion on a new facility there that opened last year. Data centres in the city cluster around the districts of Tsuen Wan, Kwai Chung, Sha Tin, Kwun Tong, Kowloon Bay, San Po Kong, Quarry Bay, Chai Wan and Tseung Kwan O. Frost & Sullivan has forecast that Hong Kong's data centre market would be worth US$802.6 million by 2019. Research firm IDC says cloud services spending would reach US$685 million by 2017, from US$251 million last year.