Microsoft to invest $1.7 bbn in AI, cloud infrastructure in Indonesia | Technology

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says investment will help Southeast Asia’s biggest economy thrive in ‘new era’.

Microsoft has announced plans to invest $1.7bn in artificial intelligence and cloud services in Indonesia.

Under the plans unveiled by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the tech giant will train 840,000 people in Indonesia in the use of AI and provide support for the country’s growing ranks of tech developers.

The announcement marks the biggest investment by Microsoft in its nearly three-decade history in the Southeast Asian country.

Nadella on Tuesday held talks with President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, at Jakarta’s presidential palace before delivering a keynote speech about AI in the Indonesian capital.

“This new generation of AI is reshaping how people live and work everywhere, including in Indonesia,” Nadella said on the first stop of a tour of Southeast Asia.

“The investments we are announcing today – spanning digital infrastructure, skilling, and support for developers – will help Indonesia thrive in this new era,” he said.

Nadella said Microsoft’s investment would “bring the latest and greatest AI infrastructure to Indonesia”.

“We’re going to lead this wave in terms of AI infrastructure that’s needed,” he said.

Indonesia, with a population of about 280 million people, is Southeast Asia’s biggest economy and is home to the third-largest developer community in the region after India and China.

In a 2020 study, global consulting firm Kearney said that AI could contribute nearly $1 trillion to Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product by 2030, with Indonesia expected to capture $366bn of the gain.

Nadella’s visit comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook last month met Widodo and President-elect Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta, where said he would “look at” manufacturing in the country.

Microsoft is seeking to boost support for the development of AI globally, and last month announced multibillion-dollar investments in cloud and AI infrastructure in Japan and the UAE-based AI firm G42.

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