Microsoft eyed France as the site of its next major investment in cloud and AI, with vice chair and president Brad Smith (pictured) telling Le Figaro the software giant plans to pump €4 billion ($4.3 billion) into its operations in the nation.

The newspaper reported comments from Smith revealing it would invest the sum by the end of 2027, with a focus on building top-tier infrastructure, developing local skills and backing French start-ups.

Microsoft aims to advance its AI credentials and establish a data centre in the city of Mulhouse, close to the borders with Germany and Switzerland.

The comments came on the eve of a government-led business summit attended by leaders of the technology and other industries.

He reportedly said Microsoft has confidence in France’s government and President Emmanuel Macron, while highlighting the importance of the administration’s backing for the company’s plans.

News of Microsoft’s French connection broke four days after the company revealed a $3.3 billion investment in an AI-powered data centre in its home market, which also included a commitment to training along with R&D through a joint innovation laboratory.