Amazon to invest 150mn in Lazio

Renzi lunches with Bezos in Florence

(supersedes previous)(ANSA) - Rome, July 22 - Amazon is set to invest 150 million euros in a new distribution center in the village of Passo Corese 30 kilometers from Rome, the firm announced Friday. The announcement came as Italian Premier Matteo Renzi lunched with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos at Florence city hall, which is housed in the 13th-century Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) and then gave him a personal tour of the city's architectural jewel.
    Amazon said in a statement the move to open what will be its second distribution center in Italy is "to satisfy growing demand in Italy".
    Its new 60,000-square-meter warehouse slated to open in fall 2017 will "stimulate the local economy" and is expected to employ 1,200 within the first three years of operations, Amazon said.
    The company said it has invested over 450 million euros and created over 1,000 new permanent full-time jobs since it began operating in Italy in 2010. Also on Friday, Amazon announced it is opening a new research and development center in Turin by the end of 2016. The focus will be on developing the artificial intelligence of its Echo voice-enabled wireless speaker, which responds to the name Alexa.
    Ten researchers are expected to be hired shortly, the company said.