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Google commits to $690 million Japan investment as Asia priority grows

The tech giant’s CEO also revealed that he hopes the company can lead digital transformation in Japan

Google is set to invest 100 million yen ($690 million) in Japan through 2024, as the company considers the Asia region to be increasingly important.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is committed to investing the money starting last year until 2024, he said in an interview with Nikkei Asia and TV Tokyo.

Google will use the investment to fund submarine cables and human resource development. It will also be funnelled into the launch of its first data centre in the country which it plans to build in Tokyo, in the Chiba Prefecture, and hopes to begin operating there in 2023.

Pichai added that Asia is becoming increasingly important for the company, and believes a lot of growth will come from the region’s markets over the next decades. He referred to short video platforms and the rise of superapps -  apps that contain numerous services, like ride-hailing, messaging, or food delivery - as another primary source of growth.

"Given our focus on Google Cloud, Asia will have to undergo a massive digital transformation across every sector. And we think Google has a role to play, so we view this as a big growth opportunity for Google Cloud as well,” said Pichai.

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The company is aiming to help support the digital transformation of Japanese companies through Google Cloud, with Pichai adding that it could lead digital transformation in the country. Japan has been struggling with digital transformation, leading it to establish a digital transformation agency last year.

Google Cloud already has experience in this sector as it was chosen by the Japanese agency to run its first nationwide cloud computing project in the country along with AWS in October last year to implement digital transformation across its ministries.

Although the Google CEO mentioned that in general the company is focusing on areas like artificial intelligence, the business has been impacted by inflation this year causing it to slow its hiring until the end of the year.

Pichai said this was because the business is responding to macroeconomic uncertainty. Next year, Google will also moderate its pace of hiring although it will still hire in essential roles, especially product and engineering, he revealed.

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