Technology giant Microsoft announced Wednesday it will create 36,000 jobs in Qatar to boost the Gulf state's efforts to move away from reliance on its oil and gas industry.
Created with support from the Qatar government, the new cloud data centre will be one of the US firm's biggest international projects.
Microsoft Qatar general manager Lana Khalaf said it will help the tiny Gulf state become a "digital hub for the region and the world".
"We are adding more than $18 billion to the economy over the next five years and we are also adding more than 36,000 new jobs over the next five years," she said at a launch ceremony.
The growing number of cloud data centres around the world act as giant warehouses full of servers that help store and process information for companies, governments and institutions.
Amazon, Microsoft and Google are the leading operators of cloud data services.
Officials said the Qatar operation would make the country more self-sufficient in information technology and speed up processing.
"We have to be careful with what we send outside the country," A.T. Srinivasan, chief information officer for Qatar Airways, said at the ceremony, speaking about the need to store data domestically.
Qatar, which will host this year's football World Cup, has been reaping record profits from its natural gas and oil in recent years, but has also been investing massively in diversifying the economy as part of its national plan for 2030.