Taiwan chosen for Microsoft AI development center

2018/01/10 17:59:31 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Sun Chi-kang (孫基康)/CNA file photo

Sun Chi-kang (孫基康)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) Microsoft Corp. has chosen to set up an artificial intelligence (AI) development center in Taiwan, a decision based on the country's valuable talent, market and government leadership in the industry, Microsoft Taiwan's president said Wednesday.

Sun Chi-kang (孫基康) announced the news that the U.S. high-tech giant is setting up an AI development center in its Taipei office, a project that will see an investment of NT$1 billion (US$33.8 million) over the next two years.

According to Sun, the goal is to amass a development team of 200 people in five years, with a key focus on SwiftKey Chinese language input, user-intent technology and AI forward integration applications.

On why Microsoft chose Taiwan to be the base for its AI development operations, Sun said the decision was based on Taiwanese talent, which has a strong foundation in math and engineering.

Furthermore, Taiwan has proven itself to be a critical component in the global supply chain of technology, so the development center's location here will allow it to be closer to the market and encourage greater local emphasis on software and AI investment.

The third and final reason for the decision is the government's commitment to promoting AI, which resulted in the recently established AI industry-academic alliance in December last year.

Microsoft wants to take advantage of this coalition and industrialize AI technology while infusing it into other industries as well, Sun said.

Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) described the investment as one of great significance for Taiwan's overall industrial development, while Sun noted that it is a move that puts "Microsoft's brain" right in the country.

The news comes a month after the Ministry of Science and Technology signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Microsoft last December on AI development.

Local media have also reported that the New Taipei City government is scheduled to sign a MOU Thursday with Amazon Web Services Limited, an Amazon subsidiary, to open a joint innovation center.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Kuan-lin Liu)
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