By Danial Azhar and Rozanna Latiff

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -Microsoft said on Thursday it will invest $2.2 billion over the next four years in Malaysia to expand cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) services in the company’s latest push to promote its generative AI technology in Asia.

The investment, the largest in Microsoft’s 32-year history in Malaysia, will include building cloud and AI infrastructure, creating AI-skilling opportunities for 200,000 people, and supporting the country’s developers, the company said.

“We want to make sure we have world class infrastructure right here in the country so that every organisation and start-up can benefit,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said during a visit to Kuala Lumpur.

Microsoft will also work with the Malaysian government to establish a national AI Centre of Excellence and enhance the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities, the company said in a statement.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who met Nadella on Thursday, said the investment supported Malaysia’s efforts in developing its AI capabilities.

Microsoft is trying to expand its support for the development of AI globally. Nadella this week announced a $1.7 billion investment in neighbouring Indonesia and said Microsoft would open its first regional data centre in Thailand.

(Reporting by Danial Azhar and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by John Mair and William Mallard)

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