The company said it plans to sell its Azure cloud services and Office 365 internet-based apps from South Africa starting next year.
Data research firm International Data Corp. estimates cloud revenue in South Africa is currently $243 million and expected to grow 20% each year through 2021.
The move into Africa is part of a Microsoft expansion that includes 40 regions globally. Microsoft has been working hard to catch cloud rival Amazon Web Services (AWS), and has recently been getting solid traction. Africa is a promising market where Microsoft could generate some significant revenue, especially if it beats AWS there.
It's Microsoft's first time in Africa. Previously companies in Africa that wanted to work with Microsoft had to rely on the company's European data-centers. But soon, Microsoft customers in Africa will benefit from reduced latency while Microsoft gets access to customers in that country who are looking to launch or expand their cloud efforts.