TikTok Owner ByteDance Plans to Spend $2.1B on ‘AI Hub’ in Malaysia

ByteDance will spend 2.1 billion on building out AI hub in Malaysia
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ByteDance will spend 2.1 billion on building out AI hub in Malaysia
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Photo Credit: Esmonde Yong

TikTok parent company ByteDance has plans to invest around $2.1 billion to build an ‘AI Hub’ in Malaysia. As part of the deal, ByteDance will expand its data center in the country as well—joining both Google and Microsoft with its investment.

The news was announced by the Malaysian Trade Minister on Friday. “This additional investment by ByteDance will undoubtedly help Malaysia achieve its target of growing the digital economy to 22.6% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product by 2025,” Trade & Industry Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said about the deal. The plan aims to turn Malaysia into a regional AI hub.

The announcement from ByteDance comes after several investments into Malaysia by other tech giants as well. Last month, Google announced plans to develop a data center and Google Cloud region within Malaysia. Google’s development is to meet the growing demand for cloud services around the world, and offer artificial intelligence AI literacy programs for Malaysian students and educators. Google’s investments in Malaysia are based in the Sime Darby Property’s Elmina Business Park, in Greater Kuala Lumpur.

“Google’s first data center and Google cloud region is our largest planned investment so far in Malaysia—a place Google has been proud to call home for 13 years,” Ruth Porat, President & Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet and Google said about that investment.

“This investment builds on our partnership with the government of Malaysia to advance its ‘Cloud First Policy,’ including best-in-class cybersecurity standards.”

Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said at the time that Google’s $2 billion investment will significantly advance the digital ambitions outlined in Malaysia’s New Industrial Master Plan 2030.

Microsoft also has plans within the country, with a $2.2 billion expansion of its cloud and AI services planned. The investment will include funds for building digital infrastructure, creating AI skilling opportunities, establishing a national AI Centre of Excellence, and enhancing Malaysia’s cybersecurity capabilities.

“Together with Microsoft, we look forward to creating more opportunities for our SMEs and better-paying jobs for our people, as we ride the AI revolution to fast-track Malaysia’s digitally empowered growth journey,” Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said of Microsoft’s investment.