KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Microsoft Corporation will invest $ 1 billion in Malaysia over the next five years as part of a new partnership program with government agencies and local businesses, the Southeast Asian nation’s prime minister said Monday.
The announcement of what would be the US tech giant’s largest investment in Malaysia comes after the country gave conditional approvals in February to Microsoft, Google, Amazon and state telecommunications company Telekom Malaysia to build and operate hyper-scale data centers and provide cloud services.
It also comes after the country saw foreign direct investment (FDI) fall by 68% last year, the biggest drop in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia has defended itself as an investment destination, with the Treasury Secretary recently saying it was looking for incentives to attract more foreign direct investment.
It has said that investments from these cloud service providers will total between 12 billion ringgit and 15 billion ringgit ($ 2.91 billion – $ 3.64 billion) over the next five years.
As part of the Bersama Malaysia initiative, Microsoft will set up its first “data center region,” made up of multiple data centers, in Malaysia to manage data from different countries, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin told an event to mark the launch of the program.
“The emerging data center region will be a game-changer for Malaysia,” Microsoft Executive Vice President Jean-Philippe Courtois said in a statement, adding that it will enable government and businesses to “transform” their operations.
Under the program, Microsoft will also help up to one million Malaysians acquire digital skills by the end of 2023.
($ 1 = 4.1260 ringgit)
(Reporting by Liz Lee; adapted by Muralikumar Anantharaman)