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Microsoft Eyes Southeast Asia with Multi-Billion Dollar Cloud Expansion Microsoft Eyes Southeast Asia with Multi-Billion Dollar Cloud Expansion
Microsoft is moving with a major expansion of its footprint in Southeast Asia by committing to investing $2.2 billion over the... Microsoft Eyes Southeast Asia with Multi-Billion Dollar Cloud Expansion

Microsoft is moving with a major expansion of its footprint in Southeast Asia by committing to investing $2.2 billion over the next four years to develop new cloud and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Malaysia.

This expansion into Southeast Asia will also include a partnership with the Malaysian government to establish a national AI center. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled these plans during his visit to Malaysia, highlighting the company’s largest-ever investment in the country.

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This investment marks a milestone in our commitment to supporting Malaysia’s AI transformation,” Nadella said. “By enhancing digital infrastructure and skills, we aim to empower Malaysian businesses, communities, and developers to leverage cutting-edge technologies for economic growth and innovation.“.

The announcement came as part of Nadella’s broader Southeast Asia tour, where he also revealed significant investments in neighboring countries. These include a $1.7 billion investment in Indonesia’s cloud and AI services and the construction of Microsoft’s first regional data center in Thailand.

Earlier in April, the tech giant disclosed a $2.9 billion investment in Japan and a $1.5 billion stake in G42, an AI enterprise based in Abu Dhabi. Microsoft has also pledged to deliver AI training to 2.5 million individuals across Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam by 2025.

The new funding in Malaysia will further provide AI education to an additional 300,000 people, enhance national cybersecurity measures, and support the local developer community. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who met with Nadella, expressed that Microsoft’s investment will significantly bolster the government’s efforts to advance AI capabilities within the country.

The establishment of a national AI center of excellence will be a cornerstone in our strategy to integrate AI into various sectors and enhance our national competitiveness,” Anwar remarked on Facebook.

By moving forward with this investment, it seems that Microsoft is looking at the broader regional potential. Southeast Asia, home to over 600 million people, represents a significant market for potential AI development.

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According to a Kearney study, AI could add nearly $1 trillion to the region’s GDP by 2030, with Indonesia and Malaysia expected to secure substantial portions of this growth. Reflecting on the strategic investments, Trade Minister Zafrul Aziz stated, “Together with Microsoft, we are poised to unlock more opportunities for our small and medium-sized enterprises and create higher paying jobs as we harness the AI revolution to accelerate Malaysia’s digital transformation.

Other reports have shown significant growth potential in multiple markets thanks to generative AI, hardware, and AI-powered chips.

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