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Microsoft to build its first Azure data center in Taiwan

簡永昌攝影

Microsoft announced a series of new projects under its "Reimagine Taiwan" initiative in late October, including opening its first Azure cloud data center region in Taiwan, scaling up its Taiwan Azure Hardware Systems and Infrastructure engineering group. And Microsoft is planning to upskill over 200,000 tech talents.

More than 30,000 jobs and more than US$10 billion (NT$300 billion) in revenue will be generated for the Taiwan economy by 2024.

"This is a significant day for Microsoft, as it is our biggest investment in Taiwan over the past 31 years of presence here," said Ken Sun, general manager, Microsoft Taiwan, at a press conference.

"Taiwan is a reliable partner to Microsoft as it has a complete information technology supply chain with visionary talents. We also see cross-industry collaboration opportunities with semiconductors, telco, medical and other industries here."

The new cloud data center region, which offers access to Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform services and availability zones, is Microsoft's 66th cloud data center region in the world.

Additionally, Microsoft will expand its Azure hardware systems and infrastructure team in Taiwan. Within two years, it aims to become a hub in Asia known for "innovation in designing and building advanced cloud software and hardware infrastructure spanning AI, IoT, and edge solutions."

"I'm confident that providing access to scalable, low-latency, and secure cloud services will equip Taiwan's public and private sectors with the latest AI and IoT technologies while meeting the highest cybersecurity, data residency, and compliance standards," Sun said.

"Building a world-class, enterprise-grade cloud marks an important step toward the digitalization of Taiwan's key industries. Microsoft is committed to fuelling innovation and economic growth in Taiwan as it transforms into the next Asian technology hub," he added.

In the coming four years, the tech firm plans to offer digital skills acquisition programs for young people, non-profits, startups and enterprises. Also partnering with leading universities to design an AI Business school program for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and C-suite leaders; and collaborate with industry associations to organize reskilling workshops for women, especially mothers who want to return to the workplace. About 200,000 people in Taiwan will benefit from the move.

"Our new investment in Taiwan reflects our faith in its strong heritage of hardware and software integration. With Taiwan's expertise in hardware manufacturing and the new datacenter region, we look forward to greater transformation, advancing what is possible with 5G, AI and IoT capabilities spanning the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge," said Jean-Phillippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations.

Commenting on Microsoft's investment, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told Taipei Times, "As the world's supply chains are rapidly reforming in the wake of COVID-19, this is the most powerful moment for us to take our trade relations with the US to a new level."

"Microsoft will build the first regional-grade data center in Taiwan, expand its cloud technology team, and let the world see Taiwan's capabilities when it comes to research and development," she added.

Taking Taiwan aside, Microsoft currently owns 14 Azure data centers in Asia, including China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Singapore.

In September, Google announced a plan to launch its third data center in Taiwan to promote IT and interconnectivity and upskill Taiwanese in digital marketing.

Samantha Chan
Contributor

Samantha Chan is a Hong Kong-born journalist who has taken an interest in Taiwan’s business scene. Over the past three years, she has written for numerous newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.