Business leaders across Wales have hailed a decision by Microsoft to invest £2.5 billion over the next three years in AI infrastructure and skills in London and Cardiff.
This is the single largest investment in its 40-year history in the country which will see Microsoft grow its UK AI infrastructure across sites in London and Cardiff and potential expansion into northern England, helping to meet the exploding demand for efficient, scalable and sustainable AI specific compute power. Datacentres process, host and store the massive amounts of digital information that is critical for developing AI models.
Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said:
“South Wales is home to a significant and growing tech industry and it is fantastic to see it develop still further with Microsoft’s UK expansion plans.
“The UK Government is playing a leading role in supporting the tech and research sectors as well as developing the UK as an AI superpower. These areas are central to growing our economy and south east Wales is at the forefront of these emerging industries.”
Microsoft is committing to more than doubling its datacentre footprint in the UK and training more than one million people for the AI economy. It’s also supporting the UK’s growing AI safety and research efforts through partnerships with the government and leading universities.
As part of this, Microsoft will spend £2.5 billion over the next three years to expand its next generation AI datacentre infrastructure, bringing more than 20,000 of the most advanced Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) – which are crucial for machine learning and the development of AI models – to the UK by 2026.
This £2.5 billion commitment was confirmed as the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak unveiled £29.5 billion of investment in our most innovative sectors, including tech, life sciences, renewables, housing and infrastructure at the Global Investment Summit.
The UK is already the leading European tech ecosystem, which last year was worth more than double Germany’s and three times as much as France’s. The UK’s AI sector also contributes £3.7 billion to the UK economy and employs 50,000 people across the country.
The Chancellor welcomed Microsoft’s investment on a visit to one of its new, next generation datacentre facilities under construction in North London – which will run fully on renewable energy – where he was joined by Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith, and Microsoft UK CEO, Clare Barclay.
Microsoft UK CEO, Clare Barclay, said:
“The pace of change in AI demands action today to build a prosperous future for the UK tomorrow. Today marks the single largest investment in our more than 40-year history in the UK.
“As business and the public sector embrace the AI opportunity, we are building the infrastructure that will support the growth they need, training the people who can deliver it responsibly and securing our society against emergent threats”.