Microsoft unveils $2.2bn investment in Malaysia focused on AI, cloud

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says firm will provide education and training to 200,000 people.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is on a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia [Mohd Rasfan/AFP]

Microsoft will invest $2.2bn in artificial intelligence and cloud infrastructure in Malaysia to support the country’s digital transformation, the tech giant has said, following similar announcements in Indonesia and Thailand.

The announcement by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday includes plans to establish an AI Centre of Excellence and provide education and training to 200,000 people in the Southeast Asian country.

“We are committed to supporting Malaysia’s AI transformation and ensure it benefits all Malaysians,” Nadella said as he visited Kuala Lumpur on the final stop of a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia.

“Our investments in digital infrastructure and skilling will help Malaysian businesses, communities, and developers apply the latest technology to drive inclusive economic growth and innovation across the country.”

Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Malaysia’s minister of investment, trade and industry, said the investment reflected a “deep partnership built on trust”.

“Indeed, Malaysia’s position as a vibrant tech investment destination is increasingly being recognised by world-recognised names due to our well-established semiconductor ecosystem, underscored by our value proposition that ‘this is where global starts,’” he said.

“Microsoft’s development of essential cloud and AI infrastructure, together with AI skilling opportunities, will significantly enhance Malaysia’s digital capacity and further elevate our position in the global tech landscape. Together with Microsoft, we look forward to creating more opportunities for our SMEs and better-paying jobs for our people, as we ride the AI revolution to fast-track Malaysia’s digitally empowered growth journey.”

Nadella earlier this week announced multibillion-dollar investments in AI and cloud services in Indonesia and Thailand.

Global consulting firm Kearney has estimated that AI could contribute nearly $1 trillion to Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

Microsoft is seeking to boost support for the development of AI worldwide, with its recent initiatives also including major investments in Japan and the United Arab Emirates-based AI firm G42.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies