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15 Apr 2024

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Nvidia to Build $200M "AI Center" in Indonesia

If you'd told someone five years ago that you were going to spend $200 million on an “AI center,” you would have received confused looks and questions of what, why, and how. Today, news of Nvidia – especially Nvidia – building such a center in Indonesia is not a surprises and represents more excitement in this transformational, AI-driven era.

The dominant AI-chip vendor, based in Silicon Valley, will partner with Indonesian telco Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison to create the facility, which will be based in Surakarta, Central Java.

The location is in the center of the world's most populous island (with 145 million people, more than half of the nation's 275 million), and will “bolster local telecommunications infrastructure,” according to Budi Arie Setiadi (pictured), Indonesia's Minister of Communication and Informatics (Kominfo). Indosat had previously said it's pursuing projects that have a “goal of propelling Indonesia into a new era of sovereign AI and technological advancement.”

The new AI center is a data center by any other name, but presumably will have high-end densities and power requirements. Indonesia should prove to offer a challenging environment for success of aggressive initiatives such as this.

Indonesia is a Trailing Leader
Indonesia trails each of the other five large ASEAN economies, according to the IDCA Digital Readiness Index, which measures technological and socioeconomic progress of the nations of the world. Indonesia's overall score is slightly below the world average, its sustainable electricity grid trails the world average, and its overall per-person electricity generation is only about one-quarter that of neighboring Malaysia.

The island of Java has become so densely populated that Indonesia's government is in the process of moving its capital from the Javanese megacity Jakarta to relatively remote Borneo in the nation's eastern provinces.

Yet by dint of its large population and steady economic progress in the face of obstacles, Indonesia is now among the world's G20 economies and continues to attract copious investment and interest in large-scale technology-driven transformation. Nvidia's confidence reflects the world's interest in locating advanced initiatives there.

Photo from Government of Indonesia.

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