Unleashing AI’s Full Potential: The Next Catalyst for Digital Growth - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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Unleashing AI’s Full Potential: The Next Catalyst for Digital Growth

>Highlights>Unleashing AI’s Full Potential: The Next Catalyst for Digital Growth

Unleashing AI’s Full Potential: The Next Catalyst for Digital Growth

Malaysia’s emergence as the next Artificial Intelligence (AI) hub in the region is gaining significant momentum, driven by increasing interest from major global tech players. Microsoft’s recent pledge to invest USD2.2 billion over the next four years to support Malaysia’s digital transformation marks the single largest investment in the country’s 32-year history. This announcement coincided with the visit of Microsoft’s Chairman and CEO, Mr. Satya Nadella, to Kuala Lumpur on 2 May 2024 for the National AI Leadership Forum, part of his Southeast Asia tour to promote generative AI technology.

Microsoft’s investment includes building cloud and AI infrastructure, creating AI skilling opportunities for 200,000 Malaysians, and establishing a national AI Centre of Excellence. It will also enhance the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities. This investment underscores Microsoft’s dedication to positioning Malaysia as a hub for cloud computing and other advanced technologies, including generative AI. These initiatives will bolster the nation’s productivity, competitiveness, resilience, and economic growth.


YTL Power International’s recent partnership with NVIDIA, utilising the latest GB200 Grace Blackwell Superchip on DGX Cloud unveiled during the GTC 2024 Conference on 18 March 2024 in San Jose, marks another significant leap forward in positioning Malaysia as the next AI Generative Hub. This AI Infrastructure will provide the foundation for scientific research and the development of AI innovative solutions and applications, such as Malaysia’s very own Large Language Model (LLM) which will drive the country’s next wave of generative AI.


Transformative technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics, powered by cloud and AI services, have the potential to empower businesses of all sizes, including start-ups and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These technologies can drive differentiation and market competitiveness.


Investments in digital infrastructure and skills development are critical for narrowing the digital gap and empowering Malaysian businesses, communities, and developers to leverage the latest technology. This will foster inclusive economic growth and drive innovation throughout the country. Offering training and skill development programmes in digital technology to Malaysians can enhance accessibility to digital training resources, and provide opportunities for hands-on experience in digital technology. These efforts can bolster Malaysia’s competitiveness in the global economy while simultaneously generating new jobs and avenues for Malaysians.


Investments in technology translate into the creation of numerous high-value positions that require specialised skills. Beyond roles like data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers, there is a growing demand for AI specialists, machine learning specialists, and AI hardware developers. Additionally, these investments will help foster indirect job growth within the ecosystem, attract highly skilled talent and catalyse entrepreneurship, resulting in the emergence of specialised roles and the growth of start-ups within the digital economy.


The investments made by tech giants not only signify confidence in Malaysia’s growth potential but also align with the national agenda to emerge as a regional leader in the digital economy. This is integral to Malaysia’s MADANI Economy Framework, aiming to establish a prosperous, inclusive society where technology bridges opportunities, education, and empowerment for all Malaysians. Malaysia aims to become a market leader in the Generative AI market and strengthen the country’s position in the regional and global markets by developing local AI companies, as stated in the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030, to establish Malaysia as a hub for Generative AI.


According to research by AT Kearney, AI has the potential to contribute almost USD1 trillion to Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, with Malaysia positioned to capture USD115 billion of this total.

Source: AT Kearney Report: Racing toward the future: artificial intelligence in Southeast Asia

Government support is crucial in fostering the digital ecosystem, which includes providing fiscal incentives like the Digital Ecosystem Acceleration (DESAC) Scheme introduced in Budget 2022. This scheme aims to attract high-quality digital infrastructure projects powered by technology, such as data centres, submarine cables, and cloud infrastructure, to invest in Malaysia.


For further details, please get in touch with MIDA’s Business Services and Regional Operations Division at https://www.mida.gov.my/staffdirectory/business-services-and-regional-operations-division/