Microsoft lands big cloud and AI deals in Thailand and Indonesia

Microsoft lands big cloud and AI deals in Thailand and Indonesia

Microsoft’s charm offensive in Southeast Asia this week has yielded two major commitments to build new cloud and AI infrastructure in Indonesia and Thailand, with the latter including its first data centre region in the country.

On Wednesday, Microsoft said the new data centre region in Thailand will expand the availability of its Azure hyperscale cloud services, facilitating enterprise-grade reliability, performance, and compliance with data residency and privacy standards.

The company said the data centre will not only help Thailand meet growing demand for cloud services, but also capitalize on various opportunities presented by the rise of AI technologies, not least those being developed by Microsoft.

“Thailand has an incredible opportunity to build a digital-first, AI-powered future,” said Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella. “Our new data centre region, along with the investments we are making in cloud and AI infrastructure, as well as AI skilling, build on our long-standing commitment to the country – and will help Thai organizations across the public and private sector drive new impact and growth.”

The deal follows an MoU signed by Microsoft and the Thai government in November 2023 to “envision the nation’s digital-first, AI-powered future.”

The Thailand data centre news came hot on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that Microsoft will invest US$1.7 billion over the next four years in new cloud and AI infrastructure in Indonesia, which represents the single largest investment in Microsoft’s 29-year history in the country.

Microsoft said the investment builds on its “Berdayakan Indonesia (Empower Indonesia)” initiative announced in February 2021 to accelerate inclusive economic growth in the country. At the time, Microsoft said the  included plans to establish its first data centre region in Indonesia. Microsoft is currently building data centres in West Java that are tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2026.

Both announcements include an AI skilling programme that’s part of a broader regional initiative announced by Microsoft on Tuesday. Under that initiative, Microsoft committed to providing AI skilling opportunities for 2.5 million people in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam by 2025 in partnership with governments, non-profit and corporate organizations, and communities in those countries.

Microsoft said the AI skilling programmes will benefit 840,000 people in Indonesia and over 100,000 in Thailand. Microsoft also said that Thailand’s AI skilling programme will focus particularly on young entrepreneurs in the country’s tourism industry.

Research from Kearney forecasts that AI could contribute nearly US$1 trillion to Southeast Asia’s GDP by 2030. According to the study, Thailand could potentially capture US$117 billion of that, while Indonesia could reap US$366 billion.

Microsoft made the announcements at its Microsoft Build: AI Day events in Jakarta and Bangkok this week. Nadella has also held high-profile meetings with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Indonesian President Joko Widodo pledging to help boost their respective visions of transforming their countries into digital economies and economic powerhouses.


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