How Microsoft is transforming Asia’s economies and societies

From building datacenters to mentoring startups and upskilling the workforce, Microsoft is dedicated to empowering Asia-Pacific to drive societal progress

Microsoft is committed to helping Asia drive societal progress, using its secure, reliable, open, and compliant platform and technology suite of cloud, data, AI, productivity, and security solutions to help to drive the region’s transformational journey.

And as proof of its commitment to the region, Microsoft has not only established over 36 years a presence in 23 Asian markets building a 30,000-strong team and an ecosystem of 100,000 partners, but has developed 20 data centre regions across 11 APAC markets.

The tech giant established 67 Innovation Centers, to help innovators bring their solutions to market, and two of the largest research centres outside the US, in Shanghai, China and Bengaluru, India.

Microsoft has been partnering with enterprises, conglomerates and organisations for three decades cross-industry helping them to transform business models, boost agility, reduce costs and improve customer experiences – from helping a tea auction firm in Sri Lanka transfer to the cloud and keep going throughout the pandemic, to facilitate teaching of medical students at Singapore’s NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.

Microsoft is also investing in major initiatives with governments and the private sector Asia-wide to upskill the workforce and foster the next generation of leaders and technologists.

From driving digital transformation across all industries to building infrastructure like datacentres, mentoring startups and advancing sustainability-related tech innovations, we highlight how Microsoft is leveraging its technology to help Asia-Pacific

Advancing sustainability-related technology innovations in Asia

With sustainability key to Asia’s hopes of long-term growth and prosperity, Microsoft is helping to advance sustainability-related technology innovations in Asia.

For example, they are supporting the Pacific Community with its launch of a pioneering analytics platform called Digital Earth Pacific, built on the tech giant’s Planetary Computer. With data-based insights, Pacific Island states can make informed decisions related to climate change, food security and natural disasters.

And in Indonesia, Microsoft’s cloud and AI solutions are enabling to accelerate decarbonisation by collecting, process, and analysing environmental information from numerous data sources.

Building digital infrastructure and data centre regions

Microsoft partners with regional governments to build data centres, of which there are now 20 across 11 Asian markets, and which create business resilience and jobs.

In India alone, Microsoft’s data centre regions have added 1.5m jobs to the economy over five years, while the recently announced data centre regions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan are forecast to help generate revenues of up to US$21bn and create 100,000 new jobs by 2025.

Upskilling the workforce in Asia

For businesses to succeed, workers need to acquire digital skills, and Microsoft is helping achieve this via various Asia-wide and country-specific initiatives, including the Global Skills Training Initiative, which helped to upskill almost 6 million people across Asia from June 2020 to March 2021, during the pandemic.

In China, Microsoft partnered with leadership consulting firm DDI to empower 1 million women with digital skills in 2021, and in the same year, trained 1 million students in AI skills in India through a nationwide initiative with NASSCOM FutureSkills.

In Japan, Microsoft is partnering with Parsol Innovation to invest 20,000 workers with digital skills by 2025, and partnering with super app Grab, Singapore’s first unicorn, on skills training and digital literacy for drivers and delivery partners across Southeast Asia.

Empowering Asia-based startups with various initiatives

With the aim of empowering the ambition of Asia startups, many of which are uniquely placed to solve some of the region’s greatest challenges, Microsoft is doubling down on the support it offers startups with initiatives such as the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub and the Project Amplify collaboration with Accenture. While the former initiative is designed to support all founders from idea to exit, offering technology, guidance and support, the latter has to date supported 33 purpose-driven APAC startups with technologies, expertise and mentoring.

A further initiative, a collaboration with global platform She Loves Tech, aims to reduce the barriers women-led startups face in bringing their innovations to market. She Loves Tech startups across 15 Asian regions will have access to Microsoft’s trusted cloud environment, cutting-edge technology tools and security solutions to pilot born-in-the-cloud innovations and scale from idea to unicorn.

Safeguarding Asia’s trust in technology

Microsoft is working with partners in Asia to adopt proactive risk management measures, build cyber-resilient cultures, and shape zero trust cybersecurity strategies.

The company has set up an APAC-specific Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council of policy, technology, and industry leaders to address cyberthreats and share security best practices.

And they are also helping to close Asia’s cybersecurity skills gap via upskilling programs and better educational and hiring opportunities across underserved social groups. Microsoft India, for example, has set up philanthropic program CyberShikshaa, which funds and trains women from engineering graduates from underserved small towns across India so they can build careers in the rapidly expanding cybersecurity sector. 


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