French billionaire Xavier Niel, the owner of Monaco Matin and majority owner of Monaco Telecom, is investing 200 million euros in artificial intelligence, the Financial Times reports.

Mr Niel’s telecoms group Iliad will invest across projects that include a cloud supercomputer powered by Nvidia, a research centre in Paris and an annual AI conference at Station F, Mr Niel’s start-up campus in the French capital, the group announced on Tuesday, September 26.

“To influence the AI market, you need computing power. To have computing power, you need supercomputers. And to have supercomputers, you have to invest massively,” Mr Niel said.

Iliad has been working to develop a European alternative cloud system to those offered by big US-based tech companies, Mr Niel added. “By equipping it with a supercomputer, we want – and we can – create a European AI champion. It’s a question of sovereignty: to protect our data, we need platforms established on our territory,” he added.

“It is not enough to create a champion, but an entire French ecosystem. Because we want to contribute to it, we are going to create an AI research laboratory, providing the means and recruiting the best researchers,” Mr Niel said.

FILE PHOTO: HSH Prince Albert and Xavier Niel (right) at the opening of Monaco Telecom’s ‘Digital House’ earlier this year Ian Brodie