Microsoft to open new data center in Thailand as it doubles down on AI and Southeast Asia


BANGKOK, THAILAND – 2024/05/01: Satya Nadella, the executive chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation speaks during the “Microsoft Build: AI Day” event at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft corporation plans to invest in its first data center, the Cloud First platform, in Thailand. (Photo by Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella on Wednesday announced “significant commitments” to build a new regional data center in Thailand, among other initiatives, as the U.S. tech giant doubles down on Southeast Asia.

The firm said it will also commit toward AI skills training for over 100,000 people and support local developers, but did not reveal the investment amount.

A day earlier, Nadella said the firm will invest $1.7 billion into Indonesia over the next four years to build new cloud and AI infrastructure.

“Thailand has an incredible opportunity to build a digital-first, AI-powered future,” Nadella said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the investments will help drive impact and growth in Thailand’s public and private sectors.

Microsoft said there is rising demand for cloud computing services in Thailand from its companies and the commitments will allow the country to tap on economic and productivity opportunities arising from AI.

“Today’s announcement with Microsoft is a significant milestone in the journey of our ‘Ignite Thailand’ vision — one that promises new opportunities for growth, innovation, and prosperity for all Thais,” said Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin, in the press release.

Microsoft has been expanding its footprint in Southeast Asia, announcing plans for new regional data centers in Malaysia and Indonesia in 2021. It currently houses its Southeast Asia data center in Singapore.

The AI boom has boosted demand for cloud computing services and data centers, as large amounts of data are required to train AI models and the cloud provides access to vast datasets. Data centers are facilities where data resides.

Microsoft on Tuesday also revealed broader plans to provide AI skilling opportunities to 2.5 million people located in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — which members include Thailand and Indonesia — by 2025.

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