Google today announced the start of construction of its first data centre in Southeast Asia located in Singapore. It slated to cost the Internet search giant US$120 million and is expected to be fully operational in early 2013.

"Building this data centre is an important investment for Google to better serve the large and fast-growing Internet population across Asia," said the head of Google Southeast Asia, Julian Persaud, at the data centre groundbreaking ceremony, which took place at the 2.45 hectare site of facility in Singapore's Jurong West.

"Users in Asia are going online to build businesses and look for entertainment and news. The data centre will enable (Google) to provide them faster and better ways to do that, "added Persaud.

He also said Google selected Singapore to establish a data centre because of the nation's "vibrant economy, robust infrastructure, conducive business environment and skilled workforce."

When operational, the facility will reportedly provide jobs of various roles for a small team of staff and contractors.

Google first unveiled plans in September to build three data centres in Asia, namely, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. These three data centres will be Google's first ones in Asia. It currently operates data centres in United States and Europe.

Google has already started (last week) the construction of its Hong Kong data centre with an estimated investment of US$300 million. The facility is also expected to be operational by early 2013.

Information on the Taiwan facility has not been disclosed yet.

Efficient facility

The new Singapore data centre will be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly in the nation and Asia, said Simon Chang, director of Google's hardware operations in Asia, who was also speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony.

It will be built according to the same high standards of Google's existing data centre facilities, said Chang.

Singapore's humidity will pose a technical challenge for the data centre design team, noted Chang. Google will, however, achieve efficiency by custom designing each element of the facility and looking at efficient cooling solutions for the data centre here, he added.

"I can't go into details yet as Google is still in the initial phase of the data centre construction," said Chang when asked to elaborate on the cooling strategies for the Singapore data centre.