TikTok owners plan $2.1bn investments to turn Malaysia into AI hub

TikTok promoters are planning to expand their operations, and turn Malaysia into an artificial intelligence (AI) hub with new investments to the tune of $2.1 billion, an official revealed on Friday.

Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Malaysia’s investment, trade and industry minister, made the statement after meeting with Helena Lersch, the vice president of TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance in Singapore.

He said ByteDance plans to make Malaysia an AI hub for the region with an investment of 10 billion ringgit ($2.1 billion).

ByteDance already runs a data center in the Kulai area in the Johor state of the Southeast Asian nation.

“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," Zafrul said on X.​​​​​​​

Amid geo-political tussle in the wider Asia-Pacific, Malaysia has in recent times been a destination of many investments, including by Google and Windows which have pledged investments around $2 billion each in Malaysia.

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