Google announces US$2 billion investment in Malaysia

By Sol Gonzalez

This will include the company’s first data centre and is part of plan to establish a Google Cloud region that will deliver high-performance computing to customers across the country.

Artist impression of Google's first data centre and Google Cloud region in Malaysia, at Elmina Business Park, greater Kuala Lumpur. Image: Sime Darby Property Bhd.

Google has announced an investment of US$2 billion in Malaysia. This includes the development of its first data centre and the establishment of a Google Cloud region in the country. The investment will, the company said, advance artificial intelligence (AI) literacy programmes for educators and students.

This investment aims to meet the growing demand for cloud services in the country, as well as to expand Google’s ongoing commitment to expand accessibility to digital skills for Malaysians.

Google’s investment into Malaysia is set to advance the country’s digital development with the data centre, an integrated digital infrastructure, and AI proficiency programmes in alignment with a mission to make Information and Communications Technology (Infocom Technology) universally accessible, the company said.

Google said the data centre will power Google’s digital services across the country, while the Google Cloud region will provide low-latency services to enterprises, startups, and public sector organisations.

According to a release, the data centre will come up in Sime Darby Property’s Elmina Business Park, in greater Kuala Lumpur.

This is Google’s largest investment in Malaysia to date, Alphabet and Google’s Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, said.

Google aims to work with the Malaysian government to create a robust ecosystem for innovation that aligns with the Government’s ‘Cloud First Policy’ and cater to high cybersecurity standards, Porat said.

With these projects, Malaysia is set to join the 11 countries where Google operates data centres and be a part of the 40 Google Cloud regions around the world.

Reaffirming Google and Malaysia’s strategic collaboration

The US$2 billion investment and programmes announced recently are set to support over US$3.2 billion in GDP (gross domestic product) contributions and create 26,500 jobs by 2030, according to a Google commissioned evaluation by AlphaBeta. This aligns with Malaysia’s MADANI Economy Framework and New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP).

The collaboration will “empower (Malaysia’s) manufacturing and service-based industries to leverage AI and other advanced technologies to move up the global value chain”, Malaysia’s Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry Tengku Zafrul Aziz said.

Google’s investment will also provide cutting-edge technology for businesses to build and scale their operations, said Malaysia’s Minister of Economy Rafizi Ramli. This aligns with the country’s goal growing the digital economy.

“We look forward to advancing our collaboration with Google to develop AI solutions for local enterprises and creating a shared economy for clean energy”, Rafizi said.

The current announcement advances Google and Malaysia’s strategic AI and Cloud partnership to create inclusive growth opportunities using AI and cloud technologies, established in November 2023.

Fostering AI literacy for Malaysians

With the rapid spread of AI, educators must be equipped with the adequate tools and skills to develop “a competitive, digitally fluent generation”, Malaysia’s Minister of Education, Fadhlina Sidek, said.

Google has launched two AI literacy programmes to increase digital skills access for educators and students, in partnership with Malaysia’s Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Digital Education Policy.

Since launching the pilot in November 2023, the Gemini Academy has empowered over 600 educators to safely use GenAI tools like Gemini for enhanced productivity. The MOE is expanding the programme to reach 15,000 educators by the end of 2024.

Google DeepMind, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and the Penang Science Cluster launched Experience AI in Malaysia last month to boost educators’ ability to teach AI to students. The program offers in-person training and interactive materials, aiming to reach 1,000 educators to impact 10,000 students nationwide.