Microsoft has announced multi-billion dollar investment campaigns – in data centre and cloud infrastructure – in Poland and New Zealand,  countries that have experienced relative success in navigating the coronavirus crisis. 

The investments, which will allow domestic consumers to access cloud services and store data locally, are the latest additions to Microsoft’s global data centre footprint covering 60 locations.

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The US tech giant announced a $1bn investment plan to establish a new data centre region in Poland on May 5. The seven-year strategic agreement with domestic cloud provider Chmura Krajowa will provide cloud solutions and digital transformation services across all industries in the country, the company said. 

“Microsoft’s investment in Poland will provide public institutions access to modern cloud solutions and accelerate digital transformation in the country,” said Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki in a statement. “Digital transformation is a great opportunity to deal with the current crisis faster and more effectively.” 

New Zealand cloud services

Microsoft also announced plans to establish its first data centre region in New Zealand, in what it described as “a major milestone towards delivering enterprise-grade cloud services in the country”. 

“The new data centre region in New Zealand will help every organisation in the country build their own digital capability,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Office, the development of the new region will enable Kiwi companies to access Microsoft’s cloud services, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365, and the Built-in Trust and Security data storage.  

Poland and New Zealand have been loosening restrictions on business since late-April as the number of Covid-19 cases has fallen. 

New Zealand announced its first day of no new cases on May 4, having limited the number of overall deaths to 20, according to data from John Hopkins University. 

In contrast to the struggles many multinationals have experienced during the crisis, Microsoft announced the investments on the back of strong first quarter results, particularly in its cloud computing subsidiary Azure which saw revenue jump 59%. 

The surge can be attributed to an increase in remote working, along with rising demand for critical cloud infrastructure which has caused “two years worth of digital transformation in two months” Mr Nadella told in the FT on April 30.