“I think it’s safe to say this is the fastest-growing region in the world in terms of Internet usage and we have a very strong Google business here,” Google’s Southeast Asia managing director Julian Persaud told AFP.
“So I think we would allocate resources in line with where we see the biggest opportunity, which I think would be APAC (Asia-Pacific) and Southeast Asia,” he added after the groundbreaking ceremony.
The Singapore data centre will be the Silicon Valley company’s first in Southeast Asia and second in Asia after construction began for its Hong Kong facility last week.
Google figures show Asia has the fastest growing number of Internet users in the world.
But it faces stiff competition, particularly in China where domestic search engines like Baidu are popular and censorship last year forced Google to move its Chinese search engine overseas.
Google will invest $120 million in the 2.45 hectare (6.05 acre) Singapore facility, with construction expected to be completed by early 2013.
The company is also due to build a third Asian data centre in Taiwan on top of its current six facilities in the United States and two in Europe.
The Asian centres will give regional Google users faster and more reliable services and enable the company to enhance applications like Gmail without being constrained by capacity issues, company officials said.
“Right now a lot of services to Asia are being delivered from, for example, the US because the capacity in Asia is just not enough,” said Simon Chang, Google’s head of Asia-Pacific hardware operations.