Malaysia is in talks with potential Chinese investors to build data centers in the country, as it seeks to attract more “high quality” investments, according to Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The government will strengthen its infrastructure offering to take advantage of the artificial-intelligence (AI) boom, Rafizi said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Stephen Engle.

US tech giants including Microsoft Corp, Google and Nvidia Corp had already announced plans to build data centers in Malaysia in the past year, and Chinese firms are interested in developing more to serve the nation’s tech companies which want to enter the Southeast Asian market, he said in the interview.

“We are looking to expedite Malaysia’s transition from the backend part of the semiconductor industry to the frontend,” with integrated-circuit design and data centres, Rafizi was quoted as saying.

The minister also said he had not held discussions with Chinese companies on using their Malaysian operations as a base to circumvent US tariffs.

Malaysia is seen emerging as a data center powerhouse in Southeast Asia and the continent more broadly as demand surges for cloud computing and AI, CNBC reported.

Over the past few years, the country has attracted billions of dollars in data center investments, including from tech giants like Google, Nvidia and Microsoft.

Last month, Google announced that it has committed an investment of $2 billion in Malaysia, including the development of its first Google data center and Google Cloud region to meet the growing demand for cloud services locally and around the world, and artificial intelligence (Al) literacy programs for Malaysian students and educators.

In the same month, Microsoft has on Thursday announced that it will invest $2.2 billion over the next four years to support Malaysia’s digital transformation – the single largest investment in its 32-year history in the country.

Last year, it was reported that NVIDIA will collaborate with Malaysian utility firm YTL Power International Berhad to build AI infrastructure that will bring the fastest supercomputers to Malaysia.

Google to invest $2B for data center and cloud region in Malaysia