Microsoft invests $2.2 billion in cloud and AI services in Malaysia

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company will invest $2.2 billion over the next four years in new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Malaysia.

This marks Microsoft’s single largest investment in Malaysia, as the tech giant looks to ramp up support for AI development in the region and around the world.

“We are fully committed to supporting Malaysia’s AI transformation and ensuring that it benefits all Malaysians,” he said. “Our investments in digital infrastructure and skills will help Malaysian businesses, communities and developers apply the latest technologies to drive inclusive economic growth and innovation across the country.”

Nadella also announced a $1.7 billion investment in cloud and AI services in Indonesia on Tuesday, during a visit to Indonesia as part of a Southeast Asia tour. He said on Wednesday that Microsoft would build its first regional data center in Thailand.

In April, the tech giant similarly announced a $2.9 billion investment in Japan and a $1.5 billion investment in Abu Dhabi AI company G42.

Microsoft also pledged to provide AI training to 2.5 million people in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam by 2025.

Earlier, Nadella met with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who said the investment would be a key pillar in supporting the government’s goal of strengthening AI capabilities in Malaysia.

Mr Anwar said on Facebook that the new investments include training 300,000 more people in AI, establishing a national AI center of excellence, strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities and supporting the growth of Malaysia’s developer community. Said to be included.

Microsoft operates one of the world’s largest cloud computing operations and is making the leap into artificial intelligence through a partnership with OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT.

Since then, Microsoft has integrated an AI assistant called Copilot into its Microsoft Edge browser, which helped boost first-quarter profits by 20%.

Microsoft sees Southeast Asia, with a population of over 600 million people, as a growth market and potential location for further AI product development. A study conducted by global consulting firm Kearney says AI could contribute nearly $1 trillion to Southeast Asia’s GDP by 2030. Of this amount, Indonesia is expected to receive $366 billion and Malaysia $115 billion.

Microsoft said in a statement that the investment in Malaysia will be made under its 2021 program to support inclusive economic growth. The proposed national AI center will accelerate AI adoption across key industries and the public sector, while ensuring AI governance and regulatory compliance, it said.

Trade Minister Zafrul Aziz said, “Together with Microsoft, we will create more opportunities (for SMEs) and better for our employees as we ride the AI ​​revolution and accelerate Malaysia’s digital growth journey. “We look forward to creating paid jobs.” said in a statement.

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