Facebook to build its first Asia data center in Singapore

AFP, SINGAPORE

Fri, Sep 07, 2018 - Page 10

Facebook Inc yesterday said it would spend more than US$1 billion to build a data center in Singapore, its first in Asia, powered by renewable energy and adapted to the city-state’s tropical climate.

The center is expected to be operational around 2022 and would host Facebook servers and centralize its information-technology operations, Facebook vice president of infrastructure data centers Thomas Furlong told reporters.

The 170,000m2 site in the land-scarce city-state would be stacked over 11 stories and come with custom features to cope with the steamy temperatures, which rarely drop below 25oC.

These include a new state-of-the-art cooling system that uses water rather than air and would work better in the humidity, as well as a building facade made of perforated, lightweight material to allow for better air flow.

The company expects it to be run on 100 percent renewable energy, like its other data centers.

The S$1.4 billion ($1.02 billion) facility would be the first data center designed and constructed by Facebook in Asia as the company increasingly relies on custom-built facilities to meet its needs, Furlong said.

It would be Facebook’s 15th data center worldwide.

Furlong said Facebook, which had 2.23 billion monthly active users as of the end of June, chose Singapore because of its robust infrastructure, availability of skilled labor and ease of doing business with the government.

Google has also built two data centers in the city-state and this month announced that it was starting work on a third, bringing its investment in the sites to US$850 million.

Despite its popularity in Asia, Facebook has also faced criticism, particularly in Myanmar, where it was used as a platform for the army and Buddhist hardliners to spread hate speech against the Muslim Rohingya minority.