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Microsoft invests in UAE’s AI leader G42 

Microsoft president Brad Smith and G42 CEO Peng Xiao (right) sign the $1.5bn investment deal in the presence of G42 chairman Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan G42/X
Microsoft president Brad Smith and G42 CEO Peng Xiao (right) sign the $1.5bn investment deal in the presence of G42 chairman Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • Microsoft president joins G42 board
  • G42 switches to Azure platform
  • $1bn fund in UAE for AI developers

The US tech giant Microsoft will invest $1.5 billion in the Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence (AI) company G42 to help accelerate its global expansion strategy.

As part of the deal G42 will run its AI applications and services on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

Brad Smith, vice-chair and president of Microsoft, will join the G42 board after the investment, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported.

Smith said the two companies will collaborate to provide advanced AI and digital infrastructure not only in the UAE but countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

Additionally, Microsoft and G42 will support establishing a $1 billion fund for developers to boost AI skills in the UAE and the broader region.

In February, G42’s CEO, Peng Xiao said the decision to sever ties with Chinese businesses was difficult after the Financial Times reported that G42 had sold its stakes in Chinese companies, including the owner of TikTok, ByteDance.

G42’s stake in the TikTok owner was estimated by the data provider PitchBook at $100 million, the FT report said

The company, chaired by the UAE’s national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and backed by investors including the UAE sovereign fund Mubadala and the US private equity company Silver Lake, had been working with US partners such as Microsoft and OpenAI, as well as Chinese technology companies.

In December the US AI company OpenAI held talks to raise funding for a new chip venture with G42.

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