Microsoft and Thailand still talking on size of investment: source


May 03, 2024

While Microsoft has announced it will build its first regional data centre in Thailand, negotiations on the size of its investment in the country are still ongoing after eight months of talks, according to a Government House source.

In contrast, Microsoft held years of negotiations with Thailand’s neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, before pledging four-year investment budgets, the source said.

Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella announced the regional data centre for Thailand at the “Microsoft Build: AI Day” in Bangkok on Wednesday before an audience that included Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

The commitment builds on a memorandum of understanding signed earlier with the Thai government to forge a digital-first, AI-powered future.

However, the tech giant’s CEO did not put a figure on Microsoft’s investment in Thailand.

On Thursday, Nadella was in Kuala Lumpur to announce a four-year investment in Malaysia of $2.2 billion. Malaysia’s largest single foreign investment in 32 years will go into building AI and cloud infrastructure, an AI excellence centre, and AI training for 200,000 locals.

On Wednesday, he announced a four-year investment of $1.7 billion in Indonesia. It will include AI training for 840,000 people, as well as support for Indonesia’s tech developers.

The Thai source said the two neighbouring countries had opened talks with Microsoft several years ago when Thailand’s foreign-investment policy was stuck in a “frozen period”.

The “cloud-first policy” of PM Srettha emphasised the commitment to cloud infrastructure as a way of improving the government’s efficiency and services, the source added.

“Thailand does not lack potential as a data centre. We just started slower than our neighbours,” said the source, citing invitations to invest extended to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services.

Source: The Nation