Google Cloud officially opened its new Doha cloud region in a ceremony held at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) on Monday.
Google Cloud officials led the launch ceremony in the presence of HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali al-Mannai and HE the Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) Ahmad al-Sayed.
The new cloud region will meet the growing demand for cloud services in Qatar and the Middle East region and support Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims to transform the country into a digital economy through innovation and digital transformation.
Research commissioned by Google Cloud and conducted by Access Partnership stated that the new Doha cloud region is expected to drive increased economic activity and is estimated to contribute a cumulative $18.9bn in higher gross economic output to Qatar’s economy between 2023 and 2030 and support the creation of 25,000 jobs in 2030 alone.
This new cloud region is the latest significant investment made by Google Cloud in Qatar, following the recent opening of a country office and virtual Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Msheireb.
The series of investments in infrastructure and resources demonstrates Google Cloud’s continued commitment to playing a pivotal role in advancing Qatar’s digital future and technological capabilities.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Qatari government have helped enable the growth of the cloud across the government through the adoption of cloud policies, which facilitated Google Cloud's market entry.
Al-Mannai said: “The launch of the first Google Cloud region in Qatar fits into our comprehensive vision to achieve the desired goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, including the establishment of a strong digital infrastructure with internationally agreed standards and policies that will lead us all towards a more efficient economy based on digitalisation and technology to facilitate quality of life and provide convenient solutions for various sectors.
“The new cloud region will contribute to giving impetus to economic and productivity growth, and will allow various government and private companies and institutions within Qatar the opportunity to achieve significant efficiency gains by adopting flexible features in dealing with digital technology.”
For his part, al Sayed said: “The launch of the new Google Cloud region in Qatar marks a significant milestone in our growing partnership with Google Cloud that started in 2020 with an agreement to establish Google Cloud’s region in Doha.
“We are proud to provide world-class cloud services from the free zones in Qatar, which is in addition to QFZ’s pivotal role in introducing disruptive technologies and advanced digital infrastructure, creating opportunities for businesses to enhance their capabilities, foster innovation, and advance the technology sector in the state.”
Al-Sayed added: “This will further accelerate Qatar’s digital transformation and the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030 that aims to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy.”
QFZ and Google Cloud’s strategic collaboration agreement to enable in-country Google Cloud presence was announced in early 2020. QFZ’s continued support of the launch of the CoE has helped the growth of the technology ecosystem in Qatar.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said, “Qatar Airways is excited at the opportunity offered by Google setting up its cloud region in Qatar. This gives us the ability to innovate jointly with Google and leverage their rich cloud service offerings.
“We are particularly keen to use AI/ML-driven data insights using Google Cloud as a platform for enhancing our world-acclaimed customer service whilst also improving our operational efficiencies. Areas like data-driven predictive maintenance will now be much easier with Google Cloud being in Qatar and our data residing here securely.”
Nasser Ghanem al-Khelaifi, chairman of beIN Media Group, said: “We are delighted to enter this major new partnership with Google Cloud, which will help beIN embrace the latest technologies and innovations.
“As a proud Qatari media group, we are always looking to innovate as a business and find ways to improve the experience of millions of our subscribers worldwide. In partnership with Google Cloud, beIN will help drive the continued digital transformation of the sports, entertainment and media industry, both in Qatar and globally.”
Qatar Financial Centre CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida said, “Our partnership with Google Cloud affirms our shared desire to facilitate the growth of local businesses by providing opportunities and solutions that enable them to capitalise on the transformative benefits of technology and digitalisation.
“Working with Google in this field builds up the support we provide our clients, particularly those in the financial services sector, and takes us steps forward in our mission to support the transformation of Qatar into a digital and fintech hub and the country's sustainable development in line with the national development plan.”
Ahmed al-Fahad, executive director of Technology & Network Operations, Al Jazeera Media Network, stated: “We are delighted to be among the group of companies leveraging Google Cloud’s new cloud region in Qatar. The new region will help Al Jazeera positively impact and empower more customers and partners around the world. Our collaboration with Google Cloud has helped us deliver tremendous value-added services to news readers around the globe.
“We are able to capture and analyse how people engage with news in real-time and translate these insights into actions that help us keep the world better informed. We believe that with the cloud region now in Qatar, we are going to be strongly positioned to deliver exceptional news coverage and drive deeper engagement to all the information.”
Adaire Fox-Martin, president, Google Cloud Go-to-Market, said: “We are proud to be delivering on the commitment we made in 2020 to the government of Qatar and the business community to open a cloud region in the country. The economy of Qatar holds tremendous growth potential.
“The Doha cloud region will be a catalyst for economic development and will create more employment opportunities in the Qatari market as more businesses grow and expand with the power of cloud technologies. We are also humbled by the presence of Qatari Cabinet ministers and leaders from Qatari businesses at the region launch event today, which reflects the endorsement of the new cloud regions' potential.”
The new Doha region is part of Google Cloud’s global network of 37 regions and 112 zones that bring cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide. The new region brings high-performance, low-latency services and products to customers of all sizes, from public sector organisations to large enterprises and to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Qatar and the Middle East.
Organisations in the region will benefit from key controls that allow them to maintain the highest security, data residency, and compliance standards, including specific data storage requirements.