Facebook to invest S$1.4 billion and build first Asian data centre in Singapore

Social media giant Facebook on Thursday (Sep 6) announced it will pour in more than S$1.4 billion to construct its first data centre in Asia in Singapore.

The new facility, located at Tanjong Kling (formerly known as Data Centre Park) in the west of Singapore, will span 170,000 sq m and will “support hundreds of jobs”, the company said in its press release, adding it will form part of its growing presence in Singapore and across the region.

Mr Thomas Furlong, vice president for Infrastructure Data Centers at Facebook, told reporters at the launch event that the new project will create “thousands of construction jobs”, while the facility will require “hundreds of operators” ranging from network maintenance to logistics staff. He added that given it is a long-term project, the company is still working out its staffing needs.

Facebook also touted how the facility will be “hyper-efficient” in terms of the use of water, energy and land. For instance, it will incorporate a liquid cooling technology that will minimise water and power consumption and, according to its testing, can reduce the amount of groundwater used by 20 per cent in climates like Singapore’s, it said.

Another example is how the 11-storey building’s facade is made out of a perforated lightweight material that allows air flow, the press release said. Building the data centre upwards, instead of outwards, is also another way of conserving land use, it added.

Facebook has selected Fortis Construction to act as its general contractor because of their joint experience building efficient data centres, it added.

Mr Furlong said the data centre is estimated to start operations in 2022, but that would just be the first phase and more construction is expected to continue beyond that. “It’s going to take a while,” he said.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who graced the launch event, said the social media giant’s decision to locate its first Asia data centre here is a “significant milestone” for the country.

He said the company’s presence here speaks to how Singapore is increasingly connected to the world beyond the traditional modes of air, land and sea. He added that it would facilitate the flow of talent, ideas and creativity into the country.

The new facility will also strengthen the country’s role in data storage, which would augment its other strengths in data protection, intellectual property, data security and data analytics, Mr Chan said.

Source: Channel NewsAsia – 6 Sep 2018

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