Just Google It! Web Giant Expands to Rural Sweden, Pledging Digitalization
AP Photo/ Virginia Mayo, FileBusiness15:06 17.10.2017(updated 15:07 17.10.2017) Get short URL
Internet giant Google has acquired 109 hectares of land in Avesta municipality in rural Sweden and has sparked hopes that the internet giant will build a major data center in the Nordic country, creating thousands of high-skilled jobs.
Avesta municipality in Dalarna County has been long rumored to be the future site of a major IT center. After a prolonged silence, Google communication manager Farshad Shadloo has confirmed having bought a major plot of land outside of Horndal in Avesta municipality, with plans for possible future expansion.
Shadloo confirmed that the deal was finalized and that the company would start expanding the surrounding infrastructure, such as roads and electricity, already next year, yet emphasized the fact that it does not automatically mean that the decision to build the data center has been taken.
“At the moment, we have no plans to develop on this field, but we want to ensure that we have future options for building data centers in Europe, should business so require,” Farshad Shadloo told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.
Nevertheless, the acquisition was hailed by Avesta, which welcomed the IT giant.
“Avesta has a long tradition of being one of the key industrial cities in Sweden. Our history and geographic location in the heart of Sweden, excellent infrastructure and access to a skilled workforce in the area have been important ingredients presented to the company,” the municipality wrote on its website. It added that its pride in credibility and trustworthiness as well as professionalism and ability to take action quickly have all played a part in this project.
Despite the lack of concrete decisions so far, Google’s far-reaching plans for Sweden are obvious. In a recent article by Google’s Sweden chief Anna Wikland, digitalization promised to greatly increase Sweden’s economic growth and create as many as 300,000 new jobs in the nation of 10 million.
“When the printing press, the light bulb and the railroad appeared, it meant a sweeping change that made calligraphy, oil lamps and horse-drawn carriages redundant. All of these still exist, but we use them because we want to and not because we actually need it. Similarly, a new wave of digital technology, such as artificial intelligence and robots, is about to change how we live and work,” Anna Wikland wrote in Svenska Dagbladet, voicing her optimism.
At present, Google has 191 employees in Sweden, who according to the website Breakit enjoy an average monthly salary of SEK 86,944 ($10,700).
The news of Google’s acquisition came less than half a year after Amazon Web Services announced plans to establish three new data centers worth $1 billion in Västerås, Eskilstuna and Katrineholm in 2018. The centers were claimed to allow companies to store hoards of data as well as back up their information, all within Sweden, and were hailed as big step forward for the country’s infrastructure.
“Without them, you can’t really build a business model. If you want to be a digital nation, you have to be able to cope with the data load that entails,” Swedish Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg was quoted as saying.