While in the latter half of the 2010s there was an effort to bring back essential functions of American businesses such as manufacturing back to US soil, some companies have continued expanding overseas, for example tech giants like Microsoft. Considering that they also manage massive amounts of electronic data and provide cloud storage services worldwide, it makes sense for Microsoft to set up shop at countries to cover regional areas, usually in partnership with local telecom providers. This is the arrangement that Microsoft Corporation has reached with the government of Malaysia here in Southeast Asia, as laid out by their Prime Minister this past Monday.
Inquirer.net reports that Malaysia is looking at a nice $1 billion worth of investment in the course of the next five years from Microsoft, in order to set up data centers in the country while partnering with the Malaysian government and some of its homegrown tech and telecom companies. During the launch of this “Bersama Malaysia” initiative on April 19, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin described the establishment of a “data center region,” where Microsoft’s data center as well as those of other international tech brand names will be concentrated.
From the Microsoft corner, Executive Vice President Jean-Philippe Courtois issued a statement intimating that their upcoming data center will enable a “transformative” evolution on how the federal government and private sector of Malaysia will operate. As Courtois puts it, “The upcoming datacenter region will be a game-changer for Malaysia.” And to help facilitate that transformation, part of Microsoft’s investment will be in training Malaysians to gain digital skills, with their target objective being the education of a million interested people in the country by 2023.
The investment that Malaysia is getting out of this partnership is a breath of fresh air for the country that saw its foreign direct investment percentage for 2020 shrink by 68%, being the worst out of all nations in Southeast Asia. And it is not like Microsoft is the only company establishing a physical presence there. Google and Amazon have their own stakes in Bersama Malaysia, where they will team up with Telekom Malaysia, the country’s state-owned telco, to construct data centers for managing hyper-scale amounts of data and cloud storage for countries in the region. It may take some time before the endeavor shows fruit, with its five-year timeframe.
Image courtesy of Microsoft News