KUALA LUMPUR: Google’s latest investment of RM9.4 billion for its first data centre and cloud region will significantly advance the digital ambitions outlined in the country’s New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030).

Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the establishment of the Google data centre and Google Cloud region in Greater Kuala Lumpur will empower the country’s manufacturing and service-based industries to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies to move up the global value chain.

“We also welcome Google’s plan to help us develop a robust talent ecosystem by facilitating the growth of our people’s digital skills, businesses, and careers. As this attracts further investments, it will spur innovation and drive growth for organisations of all sizes.

“We are confident that Google’s partnership and continued investment will accelerate our nation’s digital transformation, contributing to the MADANI vision towards a more prosperous, technologically advanced Malaysia,” he said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) here today.

The minister said Malaysia’s steadfast commitment to robust digital infrastructure has convinced many multinationals to come to Malaysia’s shores, resulting in RM144.7 billion of digital investments approved from 2021 to 2023.

“As MITI actively nurtures an empowering digital ecosystem that will drive technology-based solutions across various sectors, it will also strengthen our value proposition that Malaysia is where global starts, the place to be for companies to strengthen their regional and global operating success,” he added.

Google’s new commitment is expected to support 26,500 jobs across various sectors in Malaysia, resulting in a huge total economic impact estimated at RM15.04 billion.

“The Malaysia cloud region will join 40 regions and 121 zones currently in operation around the world to meet the growing demand for cloud services locally and globally, as well as artificial intelligence (Al) literacy programmes for Malaysian students and educators.

“This latest commitment by yet another global tech giant to Malaysia represents a key milestone in the MADANI Government’s vision to attract more digital investors into the country, to help build a digitally enabled economy that is both strong and safe,” the ministry said.

It added that the increased capacity of, and reliability on, cloud services will support various sectors, including healthcare, education, and finance, to foster a more connected and resilient world.

This announcement was made after a series of engagements involving Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with Alphabet and Google’s president, chief investment officer and chief financial officer, Ruth Porat.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) with Google on Nov 14, 2023.

Porat, meanwhile, said this investment was built on its partnership with the Malaysian government to advance its ‘Cloud First Policy,’ which includes best-in-class cybersecurity standards.

“With today’s announcement, Malaysia and Google are partnering to advance our shared work to create a supportive ecosystem for innovation and unlock the potential of digital transformation.

“In line with the MADANI Economy Framework, which encourages innovation and inclusivity to help propel Malaysia into the top 30 of global economies by 2033, transformative technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics powered by cloud and AI services by global tech giants have the potential to empower businesses of all sizes,” she said.

This includes start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), whose potential could be unlocked by technology to drive differentiation and market competitiveness, Porat added.

The Google data centre will power Google’s popular digital services, such as Search, Maps, and Workspace, while also playing an essential role in enabling Google to deliver the benefits of Al to users across the country.

When operational, Malaysia will join the 11 countries where Google has built and currently operates data centres to serve users worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Google Cloud region will deliver high-performance and low-latency services to large enterprises, startups, and public sector organisations, enabling their access to services such as data residency, and specific data storage requirements, built around security and legal compliance standards.