Google Joins AI Land Grab with $2B Buildout in Malaysia

Cloud hyperscalers are on a mission to expand their datacenter footprints worldwide to support their AI efforts. This week, Google joined in.

The purveyor of the Gemini line of enterprise AI assistants on Thursday announced its plan to spend $2 billion to build its first datacenter in Malaysia. The money will also go toward AI education programs for Malaysian teachers and students.

The plan marks Google's largest investment to date in the area.

"The Google data center will power our popular services like Search, Maps, and Workspace, which are used by billions worldwide, including Malaysians," Google's announcement said. "More importantly, it will pave the way for delivering the transformative power of AI to users and customers across the country."

The cloud region will be located in the Elmina Business Park in the state of Selangor. Malaysian businesses in the area will be able to run their applications and store their data out of the new datacenter while ensuring compliance with local data residency regulations.

Besides the new cloud datacenter, Google's investment will also go toward developing local AI literacy programs.

"As AI continues to transform various industries, it is crucial for educators to be equipped with the relevant knowledge and tools to prepare students for the future," Google said in its announcement.

To that end, the company is significantly expanding its Gemini Academy learning program, named after Google's flagship AI model family, to teach 15,000 Malaysian educators about AI by the end of the year. Until now, only about 600 educators were in the program.

The Gemini Academy expansion is in addition to Google's recently launched "Experience AI" project in Malaysia that aims to foster AI literacy in younger teens and their teachers. Google's goal with this program is to train 1,000 educators and 10,000 students aged 11 to 14.

Google's $2 billion Malaysia plans are the latest in a string of big-ticket infrastructure projects related to AI. As demand for AI grows, the world's top cloud infrastructure vendors have been racing to expand their datacenter footprints in order to accommodate the sheer amount of server and compute power needed to support AI workloads.

Just weeks before its Malaysia announcement, for instance, Google also announced plans to spend $1 billion to retrofit its Finland datacenter, $2 billion to build a new datacenter in Indiana and $1 billion to expand its datacenter in Virginia.

Its rivals Microsoft and Amazon Web Services have been busy, too, each committing billions since the start of 2024 to building out their respective cloud infrastructures. Last week, AWS announced a $17 billion datacenter expansion plan in Spain, and Microsoft a $1 billion buildout in Kenya.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.