Amazon Strengthens European Presence with Significant Investments in France and Spain

Amazon has announced plans to invest more than €1.2 billion in France and €15.7 billion in Spain, creating thousands of jobs and significantly expanding its cloud and AI infrastructure in both countries

by Sededin Dedovic
Amazon Strengthens European Presence with Significant Investments in France and Spain
© Alex Wong / Getty Images

Amazon announced that it will invest more than €1.2 billion in its operations in France. This will create more than 3,000 permanent jobs in the country. Amazon has invested over €20 billion in its French operations since 2010 and employs more than 22,000 permanent employees.

The French presidency announced that Amazon and other companies, including GSK and Accenture, will announce investments worth billions of euros as part of the annual “Choose France” event. AWS’s investment would increase cloud infrastructure in the Paris area to support the growing generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) capabilities in France.

Accordingly, the logistical infrastructure in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region will also be expanded, the company said in a statement. The rising popularity of GenAI is increasing demand for cloud services, and France has become a hub for artificial intelligence, with promising startups such as Mistral and Poolside.

Companies like Meta and Google have opened AI research centers in the country. Since 2010, Amazon has invested over €20 billion in its operations in France and employs more than 22,000 permanent workers in its cloud and online retail businesses.

“These jobs are in addition to the 2,000 jobs we announced for 2024,” said Frédéric Duval, Amazon’s manager for France. Part of the investment will also be used to expand the logistics network to increase delivery speed and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Amazon has more than 35 logistics facilities in France, reports Reuters.

Significant Investments in Spain

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, reported on Wednesday that it will invest €15.7 billion in data centers in Spain’s Aragon region.

The new investment plan replaces the 2021 announcement where Amazon committed €2.5 billion in Spain, according to the statement.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky delivers a keynote address during AWS re:Invent 2023, a conference hosted by Amazon © Noah Berger / Getty Images

Thanks to the investment, Spanish companies should open an average of 17,590 new jobs annually, they highlighted.

The Aragon government separately stated that the money would be invested over a 10-year period, emphasizing that the region is already a center of Amazon’s operations in Spain. Amazon’s plan is the largest technology investment in Spain and Southern Europe, they added.

“Amazon Web Services has positioned Spain as a leader in Europe in technological innovation and artificial intelligence,” quoted Amazon from a statement by Spain’s Minister for Digital Transformation Jose Luis Escrivá.

The American tech giant noted that the data centers in Spain will be fully powered by renewable energy. A signal of close cooperation was the decision by the German subsidiary of the Spanish telecommunications group Telefonica to transfer its mobile network to Amazon’s cloud as part of testing the capacity of the technology for managing data traffic and calls.

Telecom companies have so far transferred only secondary parts of their operations to the cloud, including IT. Major players in the cloud computing sector, like Amazon and Microsoft, are trying to get closer to the telecommunications sector, attracted by billions of dollars in potential revenue, but operators are cautious in assessing the cloud’s capacity to manage mobile networks.

At the end of last year, Amazon also launched a European ‘cloud.’ “We will store data on servers in the EU and employ only people with EU passports,” the company promised at the time, but there is significant skepticism in Europe regarding the preservation of private data.

The so-called AWS Sovereign Cloud is intended for the European public sector, primarily for governments and public companies, but also for clients in highly regulated industries. As with existing AWS regions, users will have control and assurance, AWS explained, that the company will not access or use customer data for any purpose without client consent.

“For over a decade, we have collaborated with governments and regulatory bodies across Europe to understand and meet the growing needs in cybersecurity, data privacy, and localization, and recently digital sovereignty.

With this new offering, customers and partners across Europe will have more options to achieve the operational independence they need without compromising the broadest and deepest cloud services that millions of our users already know and use today,” said Max Peterson, Vice President of Sovereign Cloud at AWS in a statement published on Amazon’s website.

Compared to the US, the European Union has significantly regulated privacy and security legislation, and European regulators last year launched an investigation into the use of cloud services in the public sector to check if they comply with privacy protection measures.

However, these promises about regulated operations in Europe somewhat resemble TikTok’s assurances in the US. The Chinese company ByteDance similarly assures Americans and US lawmakers that the data TikTok handles is stored far from China and Chinese authorities cannot access it. Nevertheless, the question remains how realistic that is.

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