Microsoft's new data centre predicted to draw US$4.6bn in revenue for Malaysia

Microsoft has launched the “Bersama Malaysia” (Together with Malaysia) initiative in line with Malaysia’s plans of advancing the nation’s digital transformation across the private and public sectors.

As part of the plan, Microsoft will establish its first datacentre region in the country to deliver cloud services locally, with data security, privacy, and the ability to store data in-country. Microsoft also plans to train an additional one million Malaysians by end of 2023 to help create economic opportunities for people and businesses in the digital era. According to Reuters, Microsoft is investing US$1 billion in the country over the next five years. IDC’s research found that Microsoft’s investment in Malaysia will help generate up to US$4.6 billion in new revenues for the country’s ecosystem of local partners and cloud-consuming customers over the next four years. Additionally, the research estimates Microsoft, its partners, and cloud-using customers will together contribute more than 19,000 new direct and indirect jobs.

As part of the Bersama Malaysia initiative, Microsoft is committed to equipping individuals with equal opportunities to thrive in a cloud and AI-enabled digital economy. It will be working with the likes of Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), Junior Achievement Malaysia, TalentCorp Malaysia, MAMPU, Grab Malaysia, Biji-Biji Enterprise and local universities to reach people of all socio-economic backgrounds, including young adults and people living with disabilities.

According to Microsoft, this commitment is a continuation of Microsoft’s global skills initiative since July 2020, which has reached more than 110,000 Malaysians to date.

Microsoft will work with the government, startups and enterprises to support the country’s digital transformation goals. Specifically, Microsoft in partnership with the Social & Economic Research Initiative (SERI) has established the MyDigital Alliance Leadership Council to collaborate on cloud-first and digital-native policy recommendations. The Alliance’s first meeting discussed digitalisation in the education sector to nurture a globally competitive Malaysian digital workforce.

Prime minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin said, “As we cement the Microsoft partnership today, I hope this is just the first green shoots of a broader meadow of investments in Malaysia, for Microsoft and other data players.”

He added that this is a significant investment from Microsoft, which further fortifies Malaysia’s position as a potential regional data hub. “We stand ever ready to welcome more such partners as we work with our stakeholders to continually improve Malaysia’s value proposition in this big data space.”

Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft global sales, marketing and operations, said: “Today’s announcement represents a major milestone for Microsoft in the 28 years we have been operating in Malaysia. We share the government’s commitment that digital transformation must be inclusive and responsible. As such, we pledge to empower 1 million Malaysians with digital skills, helping them to take advantage of the opportunities this new investment will bring.”

Courtois added that building digital infrastructure is fundamental to advancing a nation’s digital economy. “The upcoming datacenter region will be a game-changer for Malaysia, enabling the government and businesses to reimagine and transform their operations, to the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

K Raman, managing director of Microsoft Malaysia said: “Public-private partnerships are key enablers to propel Malaysia’s digital economy forward. Microsoft’s Bersama Malaysia initiative reflects our joint commitment in support of the nation’s MyDigital aspirations, as we empower every person and every organisation in Malaysia to achieve more. With over 200 employees and 2,000 partners in the country, we will continue to support a digitally-enabled government, empower businesses to build resilience digitally, and bridge the digital opportunities for Malaysians. Together, we stand with Malaysia”

The new datacenter region will also deliver Azure Availability Zones, providing additional resilience options for highly available applications, and support Microsoft’s sustainability goals. Microsoft has a global commitment to shift to 100% supply of renewable energy by 2025. This means Microsoft will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100% of carbon-emitting electricity consumed by all its datacentres, buildings, and campuses, including the planned Malaysia datacentre region.

Additionally, Malaysia’s leading companies, PETRONAS and Celcom Axiata have committed to helping advance Malaysia’s nation-building and digital ambitions, as well as using the Microsoft Cloud from the new datacentre region when available.

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