Microsoft commits US$2.2bil to bolster Malaysia’s digital transformation

  • Largest such investment by the tech giant in Malaysia
  • Targeted to fuel Malaysia’s cloud and AI transformation

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella (L) meets with YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya in Malaysia on May 02, 2024. (Photo by Annice Lyn/Getty Images for Microsoft)

Microsoft has announced a US$2.2 billion (RM10.47 billion) investment today, the largest in the company's 32-year history in Malaysia. Aimed at enhancing Malaysia’s cloud and AI landscape, the announcement was made by Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, during the Microsoft Build: AI Day held in Kuala Lumpur.

Microsoft’s investment will be distributed over the next four years, and includes plans to construct cloud and AI infrastructure, create AI skilling opportunities for 200,000 Malaysians, establish a national AI Centre of Excellence, and fortify the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities. Additionally, the investment will support the expansion of Malaysia’s developer community.

"We are committed to supporting Malaysia’s AI transformation to ensure it benefits all Malaysians," stated Nadella, adding that the initiative is designed to make Malaysia a hub for cloud computing and advanced technologies such as generative AI.

Government collaboration and support

The Malaysian government has welcomed Microsoft’s initiative, recognizing it as a catalyst for the nation’s digital empowerment journey. Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Malaysia’s Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, highlighted Microsoft’s longstanding partnership with Malaysia while adding that the investment "will significantly enhance Malaysia's digital capacity and further elevate our position in the global tech landscape," he remarked.

He added that this was further recognition of Malaysia’s position as a vibrant tech investment destination, in particular due to the country's well-established semiconductor ecosystem. "(It is) underscored by our value proposition that 'this is where global starts'".

Meanwhile, Andrea Della Mattea, President of Microsoft ASEAN, said that this initiative is intended to support the Malaysian government's National AI Framework. "As a result, Malaysia is steadily establishing itself as a regional hub for digital innovation and smart technologies."

Broad community benefits

The investment is part of a broader commitment by Microsoft to provide AI skilling opportunities for 2.5 million people in ASEAN member states by 2025 that was announced earlier this week, including a similar US$1.7 billion investment in Indonesia to expand cloud and artificial intelligence services, including building data centres.

The opportunities in Malaysia are hoped to benefit 200,000 people and inclucate them with AI skills through the AI TEACH Malaysia program, and cybersecurity skills via the Ready4AI&Security program.

Microsoft will also aim to partner with various Malaysian agencies to establish a national AI Centre of Excellence to drive AI adoption across key industries, while ensuring AI governance and regulatory compliance. The company will assist various agencies incorporate AI into their workflow, including with the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) to better analyze economic trajectories of different negotiating partners in international trade negotiations, and with Cradle to develop the MYStartup 'single window' platform. 

Microsoft will also collaborate with the National Cyber Security Agency of Malaysia (NACSA) to promote security and resilience in the public sector through security assessments and capacity building. 

Local businesses will gain access to the latest technological advancements, community members will receive AI and digital skills training to enhance employability, and developers will be empowered through new initiatives such as AI Odyssey, aimed at fostering AI expertise.

"As more companies embrace the power of AI, having the right digital infrastructure in Malaysia is key to future-proofing our nation’s economy," commented Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Economy. "Microsoft’s investment will help accelerate the adoption of generative AI, building a pipeline of AI-driven startups, and benefitting our economy through increased productivity and higher wages."


Related Stories :

Keyword(s) :
Author Name :
Download Digerati50 2020-2021 PDF

Digerati50 2020-2021

Get and download a digital copy of Digerati50 2020-2021