Microsoft Reveals Plans To Build Its First Data Center in Thailand

Microsoft announced its plans to establish a data center in Thailand, aiming to capitalize on the burgeoning AI-driven transformation in Southeast Asia. Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella shared the news at the “Microsoft Build: AI Day in Bangkok” event on Wednesday.

The event was attended by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, as well as about 2,000 developers, business, and technology leaders.

This announcement extends Microsoft’s earlier commitment to Thailand, formalized through a memorandum of understanding with the government to advance a digital and AI-centric future. Mr. Nadella stated, “We will invest in our first data center in Thailand.”

Just a day prior, Mr. Nadella disclosed that Microsoft plans to spend $1.7 billion on cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Indonesia. He will finish his three-country Southeast Asian tour in Malaysia on Thursday.

A source familiar with Microsoft revealed that the planned Azure data center in Thailand would be situated in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), with an investment estimated at $1 billion. This center will join the ranks of around 300 Microsoft data centers globally.

Mr. Nadella expressed to his audience in Bangkok, “Thailand has an incredible opportunity to build a digital-first, AI-powered future.”

The forthcoming Thai data center, coupled with additional investments in cloud and AI infrastructure and AI skills enhancement, reflects Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to Thailand.

These initiatives are set to bolster impact and growth across Thai public and private sectors, according to Mr. Nadella.

Following in the footsteps of Amazon Web Services and Google, Microsoft has announced significant new commitments to develop cloud and AI infrastructure in Thailand.

This move is part of the company’s strategy for expansion across the Asia Pacific, aiming to harness opportunities in the AI era and mitigate geopolitical risks.

Microsoft also previously announced plans to invest $2.9 billion over the next two years to expand hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Japan.

At the event, Mr. Srettha emphasized the strategic importance of the Microsoft announcement for Thailand’s role in ASEAN.

He outlined Thailand’s “Ignite Thailand” vision for 2030, which aims to elevate the nation as a hub for the digital economy, innovation, and R&D within the region, while also enhancing the technical skills of the workforce.

According to Kearney, a management consultancy, AI is expected to contribute nearly $1 trillion to the GDP of Southeast Asia by 2030, with Thailand potentially capturing $117 billion of this total.

The new Thai data center from Microsoft will enhance the availability of hyperscale cloud services, ensuring enterprise-level reliability, performance, and compliance with strict data residency and privacy standards.

This development responds to the growing demand for cloud services in Thailand from both businesses and the public sector, enabling the country to exploit the substantial economic and productivity benefits offered by AI technology.

Microsoft has pledged to equip 2.5 million individuals across ASEAN with AI skills by 2025, including those in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. It is anticipated that over 100,000 people in Thailand will benefit from this initiative.

In the developer community, Microsoft has launched AI Odyssey, an initiative aimed at enhancing the AI expertise of 6,000 Thai developers through new skills and Microsoft certifications.

GitHub, owned by Microsoft, shows rapid growth in the Thai market, with over 900,000 local developers in 2023, marking a 24% increase from the previous year.

Mr. Nadella noted that several Thai organizations are already utilizing Microsoft’s generative AI-powered solutions, including Advanced Info Service Plc, the National Health Security Office, SCBX Plc, and the Council of State.

Mr. Srettha highlighted Thailand’s readiness for AI, backed by full government support. He highlighted the country’s robust digital infrastructure, featuring extensive broadband internet, mobile connectivity, 5G, and an international submarine cable network.