As part of its “Reimagine Taiwan” initiative, Microsoft this week revealed plans to set up its first cloud datacentre region in Taiwan and a significant investment in local talent and development with the goal to provide digital skilling for over 200,000 people in the city state by 2024.
Furthermore, Microsoft is growing its Taiwan Azure Hardware Systems and Infrastructure engineering group, which will establish Microsoft Taiwan as a hub in Asia for innovation in designing and building advanced cloud software and hardware infrastructure spanning AI, IoT and edge solutions.
"Technology has a critical role to play in supporting economic recovery and opportunity everywhere. We are committed to fostering local innovation to support digital transformation across the public and private sectors in Taiwan. Our new investment reflects our faith in its strong heritage of hardware and software integration,” said Jean-Phillippe Courtois, executive vice president and president, Microsoft global sales, marketing and operations. “With Taiwan's expertise in hardware manufacturing and the new datacentre region, we look forward to greater transformation, advancing what is possible with 5G, AI and IoT capabilities spanning the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.”
The new investment adds to Microsoft's significant and recent investments in Taiwan, including the IoT Innovation Center, AI Research and Development Center, Startup Accelerator and the IoT Center of Excellence.
This week’s announcement represents a new commitment in Microsoft's more than 30-year history in Taiwan to fuel new growth that will accelerate digital transformation of Taiwan's public and private sectors, helping customers to reimagine their future by providing access to highly secured enterprise-grade cloud services. In addition, Microsoft's ambitious new skilling plan will help to cultivate and groom tech talent, increasing future employability opportunities for the people of Taiwan.
Over the next four years, Microsoft, its ecosystem and cloud customers together will generate more than $10 billion in new revenue and will add over 30,000 jobs to the Taiwan economy, according to a recent IDC study.
Speeding up digital transformation across Taiwan
Microsoft will deliver highly secure and scalable cloud services that will help customers to reimagine their businesses and innovate with confidence, adding Taiwan to its global-scale cloud, which now totals 66 cloud regions announced.
Microsoft Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud services that offers computing, networking, databases, analytics, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) services. At launch, the new region will deliver Microsoft Azure first with Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform services to follow.
Microsoft 365 productivity cloud provides best-of-breed productivity apps integrated through cloud services, delivered as part of an open platform for business processes. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform are the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organisations to grow, evolve and transform to meet the needs of customers.
Microsoft will help customers to store data at rest in Taiwan and over 90 compliance certifications to meet a broad range of industry and regulatory entity standards, under Taiwan's executive branch of government, the Executive Yuan.
As part of Microsoft's global commitment to be carbon negative by 2030, the company will shift to 100% supply of renewable energy for its datacentres by 2025. Microsoft is also empowering its ecosystem and supply chain to be more sustainable. To support customer needs for high-availability and resiliency in their applications, the new region will also include Availability Zones, which are unique physical locations of datacentres with independent power, network and cooling for additional tolerance to datacentre failures.
"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,” said Ken Sun, general manager of Microsoft Taiwan.
“Building a world-class, enterprise grade cloud marks an important step toward the digitalisation 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.
Boosting local employment through upskilling
Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to upskill over 200,000 people in Taiwan over the next four years, providing digital skills acquisition programmes for youth, non-profits, startups and enterprises.
This builds on Microsoft's investment in local skilling programs for students, including internship programs, STEM Education, and Coding Angels. Microsoft will continue working with non-profit organizations including the Build the Future, Eden Social Welfare Associate, Taipei Orphan Foundation and Taiwan Fund for Children and Families to reskill social workers.
In collaboration with leading universities, Microsoft plans to upskill business leaders, entrepreneurs, and C-level executives through the AI Business School program. Finally, Microsoft is working with industry associations to launch a series of re-skilling workshops for women, including mothers returning to the workplace.
Positive response from local technology partners
Major Taiwanese technology companies across various sectors, who have collaborated with the technology giant to create customised solutions, are optimistic about Microsoft’s latest plans in the city.
"We excited that Microsoft is establishing a datacentre region in Taiwan, and we look forward to furthering our partnership to help enterprises on their digital transformation path with cloud and smart technologies, fulfilling our mission of breaking barriers between people and technology," said Jason Chen, chairman and CEO of Acer.
Chunghwa Telecom, which closely collaborated with Microsoft in areas including private enterprise networks, edge computing, smart manufacturing and smart energy, expects the new plans will help Taiwan to stay on top of innovation.
“Azure's advanced cloud services, combined with Chunghwa Telecom's telecommunications and operations expertise, will undoubtedly accelerate innovation across Taiwan's industries and ecosystem, bringing Taiwan's best-in-class solutions to the Asia Pacific region and the world," said Hong-Chan Ma, senior executive vice president, Chunghwa Telecom.
FarEasTone Telecommunications president Chee Ching echoed the same sentiment: “With the local datacentre region, we hope to generate greater momentum for Taiwan's innovation, by creating diverse services suitable for a wide range of industry scenarios, connect Taiwan to the globe, and make it a hub for the world's innovative applications.”
FarEasTone Telecom has a strategic alliance with Microsoft around big data, AI, IoT and telecommunications networks by using Azure's cloud platform to create innovative solutions from the intelligent cloud to the intelligent edge.