Microsoft, Amazon to invest billions in French tech

US e-commerce giant Amazon's investment could create up to 3,000 jobs, said the Elysee (SEBASTIEN BOZON)
US e-commerce giant Amazon's investment could create up to 3,000 jobs, said the Elysee (SEBASTIEN BOZON)

Microsoft on Sunday announced four billion euros in investment for developing data centres in France, joining fellow US giant Amazon in committing to the country's tech infrastructure.

The announcements came on the eve of the seventh Choose France Summit, the aim of which is to attract foreign investors to the country. Macron will host it at the Chateau of Versailles near Paris.

Microsoft's president Brad Smith told AFP the move to strengthen its artificial intelligence and cloud computing infrastructure was the tech giant's biggest-ever investment in France since its arrival 41 years ago.

France's "longstanding commitment to carbon-free energy markets" and its status as a "critical leader" in Europe explained the decision, Smith said.

A new data centre will be created in eastern France, while existing sites in the Paris region and the southern city of Marseille will be expanded.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon will invest more than 1.2 billion euros in France, creating more than 3,000 jobs, French President Emmanuel Macron's office said earlier on Sunday.

The money will help develop Amazon Web Services' (AWS) cloud infrastructure, mainly generative artificial intelligence, and the logistical infrastructure of its parcel delivery service, a statement added.

Amazon did not respond to approaches by AFP on Sunday, having recently said it did not want to make any comment ahead of a possible announcement that would be made at the event.

The US company has already announced the creation of 2,000 new jobs in France in 2024, which would bring its staff workforce in the country up to 24,000 by the end of the year, mainly in its logistics centres.

AWS is a key subsidiary of the group, having made $25 billion worldwide in the first quarter, capitalising on the growing appetite among businesses for remote computer and artificial intelligence services.

As Choose France prepared to get under way, several pharmaceutical groups, including US group Pfizer and Britain's AstraZeneca, announced on Sunday commitments to invest more than a billion euros more in France's health sector.

The largest industrial project announced so far is a potential fertiliser factory, which could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

European consortium FertigHy is to announce it is looking at investing 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) into a factory in the Somme region in northern France, Industry Minister Roland Lescure told France's La Tribune Dimanche newspaper.

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