Microsoft opens expanded AI research center in Taipei

Microsoft presented a desk which can rise or descend according to the user's wishes.

Microsoft presented a desk which can rise or descend according to the user's wishes. (CNA photo)

Microsoft Corp. opened an extended hub in Taipei on Friday for the research and development of artificial intelligence technology and to mark the 30th anniversary of its presence in Taiwan.

At the opening ceremony, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) hailed the expanding investment in Taiwan by the American multinational technology company.

"We look forward to seeing this state-of-the-art AI R&D Center in Taiwan become a key driver of next-generation technology that will help Taiwan shine on the world stage as an R&D powerhouse," Tsai said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Taiwan said it plans to team up with other partners to build an AI eco-system in Taiwan.

In January 2018, Microsoft opened Asia's first AI R&D Center in Taipei, which it said would double its investment in the country to NT$1 billion (US$33 million) in two years and create an AI talent pool of 200 experts over five years.

Microsoft currently employs some 600 people in Taiwan, most of whom are Taiwanese. "Taiwanese have a very strong desire to learn," Microsoft Taiwan chief operating officer Hedy Ho (何虹) told CNA.

Microsoft is engaged in its own digital transformation and hopes to pass on its experience to its customers and partners, Ho said.

"Along the way, we are more concerned about the transformation of business models than technology transformation," she added.

Ho said that this year, Taiwan at one point had the second-highest number of nationals passing the Microsoft Azure infrastructure certification exams, after the United States.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers.

Friday's ceremony included a display of Microsoft AI applications such as the Windows Hello facial recognition and 3D fraud detection systems. (By Flor Wang and Jeffrey Wu)