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Microsoft Satya Nadella is ‘very bullish’ on Asia, China and India

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., during the company’s Ignite Spotlight event in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Nadella gave a keynote speech at an event hosted by the company’s Korean unit. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The CEO of Microsoft says he is bullish about Asia, especially China and India, as Microsoft plans to build more data centers around the world.

“Absolutely. We’re very, very bullish about what’s happening in Asia,” Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, told CNBC’s Tanvir Gill in an interview Thursday, adding that Microsoft is investing in at least 11 regions.

“We’re absolutely committed to all of these countries and in China too. Today, we primarily work to support multinational companies that operate in China and multinational companies out of China.”

He also added that India has been a “massive growth market” after emerging from the pandemic.

“Microsoft’s presence in India was about mostly multinational companies operating in India. But for now, it’s completely changed,” he said.

“It’s the reverse where these companies who are innovating in India, whether it’s the big large conglomerates, or the new startups, are all using [artificial intelligence] cloud technology to be able to innovate and create services that are obviously popular in India and elsewhere,” he told CNBC.

Microsoft previously told Indian media outlet Economic Times that there’s a huge demand in development of new native cloud applications in India.

Tech layoffs

As U.S. tech giants face mass layoffs, Nadella said he was optimistic about the labor market there.

Microsoft in October announced a round of layoffs affecting less than 1% of its employees. Meanwhile, Meta is cutting 11,000 workers, while Snap is laying off more than 1,000 people.

“The current labor markets are much more resilient,” said Nadella, adding that most companies from energy firms to banks and retailers need software engineers.

He added that no industry is immune to macroeconomic issues. “So everyone has to manage the costs and demand properly,” he said.

“One of the fascinating things about the U.S. is the amount of capital that’s getting invested,” he said, adding that new industrial infrastructure such as fabrication plants, power plants and battery factories are being built.

“I am much more focused on observing where what is happening in terms of new growth inside the United States. So I’m very, very optimistic about the U.S. and the world.”

Nadella replaced billionaire Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO in 2014. Prior to that, Nadella was executive vice-president of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group.

Microsoft shares were at $241.73 in after-hours trade. Shares have dropped 27.8% year-to-date.

— This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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