Statement by President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö at the press conference at Google Hamina on 2 August 2012

It is a great pleasure to be present here in Hamina to witness the announcement of Google’s second phase investment into datacenter at the former paper mill.

This investment decision is important for Finland and we welcome it warmly. In my eyes, the decision is significant for two reasons:

It is a signal from Google that Finnish business environment is attractive for the global leader in Internet services. Of course, we believe in Finland and our future as a place where any ambitious investor needs to be. But we need these signals to prove our case.

Secondly, the conversion of formerly world’s leading paper mill to world’s leading specialist in Internet services is a concrete example of the ongoing structural change. Before the Internet revolution the newsprint was the predominant media for global information distribution and storage. Now the Internet has taken its’ place.

Internet represents already almost one tenth of the Finnish economy. Internet contribution to the GDP ranges from four to ten percent in the leading countries with Finland holding the lead, followed by Sweden and the United States of America. In Finland the net exports of Internet services have been growing rapidly.

Services, especially Internet based services, are increasingly taking over the traditional manufacturing industries. Google’s investment decision is a significant step in this process.

I am especially pleased to note that Google is emphasizing sustainability and environmental considerations. We are proud to host one of the most energy efficient datacenters in the world. Finland is strongly committed to renewable energy. We welcome Google to continue to work with Finnish parties in finding further sustainable solutions, for example in the fields of wind and other renewable energies, as well as utilizing the heat generated by the server halls.

Google’s investment brings needed economic activity and employment. It has indirect impact also on economic climate and opens new opportunities for entrepreneurship in Finland. All Finnish government actors, let them be national, regional or local should do their best in facilitating new investments like this one. I, as the president of Finland, will give my full support for this. Actually, I have decided to invite a number of foreign companies that already have invested in Finland for a discussion at the presidential palace yet this fall. I want to learn more from their experience. What we can do better in order to further improve the attractiveness of our country?

Thank you for this opportunity to participate in this event. I wish you smooth sailing in realizing the second phase of your investment in Hamina.