Microsoft CEO pledges $1.7 bn AI, cloud investment in Indonesia

Microsoft CEO pledges $1.7 bn AI, cloud investment in Indonesia

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella arrives for a meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella arrives for a meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo. Photo: BAY ISMOYO / AFP
Source: AFP

Microsoft's chief executive officer met the president of Indonesia on Tuesday, pledging a $1.7 billion investment in artificial intelligence and cloud computing to help develop the archipelago's AI infrastructure.

Indonesia is Southeast Asia's biggest economy with a population of around 280 million across its sprawling archipelago and there is a growing demand for data centres and AI tech in the region.

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

"The thing I am really excited to announce today is the expanded announcement of data centre investment, so $1.7 billion to bring the latest and greatest AI infrastructure to Indonesia," Nadella told a crowd, adding data centres would be built in Indonesia soon.

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"We are going to lead this wave in terms of the next generation of AI infrastructure that's needed," he said.

"Our mission ultimately is to empower every person and every organisation in Indonesia to take advantage of this next big AI wave."

He said the tech giant would provide AI training for hundreds of thousands of Indonesians.

"I'm very pleased to announce that we at Microsoft are going to train 2.5 million people by 2025 across the ASEAN region. In fact 840,000 right here in Indonesia alone," he said.

Regional tour

Earlier, Nadella told Jokowi the tech giant would "invest significantly" in AI infrastructure and new cloud computing over the next four years, Minister of Communication and Informatics Budi Arie Setiadi said in a statement.

The Microsoft chief called it the "single biggest investment value" in the 29-year history of its business in the country, Budi said.

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Microsoft has been hugely rewarded by investors since it aggressively pushed into rolling out generative AI, starting with its $13 billion partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, in 2023.

Nadella said sales in the January to March period rose by 17 percent from a year earlier to $61.9 billion, with net profit up by 20 percent to $21.9 billion.

The embrace of AI has boosted sales of its key cloud services such as Azure, which have become the core of Microsoft's business under Nadella's leadership.

Nadella's visit comes just weeks after Apple CEO Tim Cook met Jokowi and president-elect Prabowo Subianto as the tech giant explores ways to diversify supply chains away from China.

Cook said Apple was looking at potentially investing in manufacturing in the country.

Nadella is travelling on to Thailand and then Malaysia this week on a regional tour to promote its AI tech.

Source: AFP

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