Google lifts post-Nokia hopes with Finnish data centre investment
By Ritsuko Ando
HAMINA, Finland (Reuters) - Google will invest another 450 million euros ($607 million) over the next few years in a data center in Finland, boosting a country struggling with Nokia's decline and weakness in its paper and steel industries.
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen welcomed the move, one of the biggest foreign direct investments in Finland, and said the government planned to reduce electricity taxes for data centers to encourage more such stakes.
The new pledge by the world's No. 1 Internet search company is in addition to 350 million euros it has already spent on the data center, built on the site of paper company Stora Enso's former mill in Hamina, southeastern Finland.
Google bought the mill in 2009, turning it into one of its most efficient data centers by taking advantage of the Bay of Finland's chilly seawater to cool its servers.
Katainen said Google's move showed that Finland, with its highly skilled work force, remained competitive.
"Finland's strength is in finding creative solutions to global challenges," he said on Monday during a visit to the site. He said the government would do its part by lowering electricity taxes for such sites starting in 2014, although the move still needs approval from the European Commission.
"Our job from the government side is to create and enable good infrastructure for various fields of business."
Finland has been trying to shore up business confidence hard-hit in September when Nokia, struggling for years to catch up with Apple and Samsung in smartphones, announced it was selling the handset business to Microsoft. Continued...