FACEBOOK will build a S$1.4 billion data centre in Singapore, its first such facility in Asia and its 15th in the world.
To be located in Tanjong Kling in Jurong, it will support "hundreds of jobs" and add to Facebook's "growing presence" in Singapore and the region, the social networking company announced on Thursday.
The centre is targeted to start operations in 2022, after which construction will continue for a few years, because it is a huge project, The Business Times has learnt.
Facebook said: "Our data centres are highly-advanced facilities that help bring Facebook apps and services to people around the world every day."
When complete, the centre will be a 170,000 sq m, 11-storey building featuring a facade made out of a perforated lightweight material, which will facilitate air flow and provide glimpses of the mechanical equipment inside.
It will be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy and run on an annual power usage effectiveness of 1.19, Facebook said. "This means that almost every watt going into our data centre will be used to run the computing equipment."
When asked whether Facebook was concerned about the high land and labour costs in Singapore, a company spokesman said: "Deciding where to locate a facility like this is an incredibly complicated process that involves balancing dozens of different criteria. Singapore provided us with many things we look for in a site, including good infrastructure, a great regulatory and business climate, and a shovel-ready site."
She told BT: "Singapore offers a lot of the items we look for when selecting a location for a data centre. This specific location offers excellent access to power, fibre, as well as good water and sewer infrastructure."
Fortis Construction has been appointed the general contractor for the project, a result of a "joint experience building efficient data centres", said Facebook.
The Portland-based general contractor has worked on Facebook's data centres in Oregon, Texas and North Carolina in the US, and in Lulea in Sweden.
Fortis said on Thursday that it has opened an office in Singapore, from which it will provide general contractor services for Facebook's data centre.
It added that it is recruiting for various positions, including accounting, engineering and IT.
Thomas Furlong, Facebook's vice-president of infrastructure data centres, noted at the launch event on Thursday that Singapore was also chosen for its talented local workforce, and support from government agencies including JTC and the Economic Development Board of Singapore.
He said Facebook has some 1,000 employees in Singapore, and programmes that help local startups grow their businesses, and promote media literacy.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who graced the launch event, said Facebook's presence in Singapore is important in helping the country connect to the rest of the world by transcending the "physical constraints of size and space", and rendering the country a part of the global data centre value chain.
The project is also a milestone in that it "helps break new ground in land utilisation and energy consumption", said Mr Chan.
Facebook's data centre in Singapore is said to be the first to incorporate the new StatePoint Liquid Cooling system, a technology that minimises water and power consumption and reduces by 20 per cent the amount of peak water used in climates like Singapore's.
Peak water refers to a state of affairs in which the planet's supply of fresh water is not replenished at the rate it is consumed.