global economy

Macron bemoans nonsense innovation, takes aim at Chinese and US tech bonanza

Macron bemoans nonsense innovation, takes aim at Chinese and US tech bonanza

MACRON. French President Emmanuel Macron speaks flanked by Ana Maiques, CEO of Neuroelectrics, a company aiming to change the way we interact with the brain, and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO and Co-founder of online payments provider KLARNA, during a conference entitled 'A Conversation With European Scale-Ups' at the VivaTech startup and tech event which fifth edition is taking place from June 16 to 19 at the Expo Porte de Versailles, and online, in Paris, France June 16, 2021

Alain Jocard/Reuters

Macron is pushing for Europe to create 10 tech giants worth 100 billion euros each to rival US companies

French President Emmanuel Macron called out on Wednesday, June 16 what he described as excesses of liquidity in the US and Chinese financial markets, some of which he said could instead foster the growth of tech companies in Europe.

“We can attract a lot of Chinese and American investors because when I look at what they are financing sometimes, some bullshit innovation they finance because you have too much liquidity in the market,” Macron told a panel of executives from startups at France’s tech show Viva Tech.

Macron did not elaborate on the kind of innovation or specific companies he had in mind.

“This place (Paris) now is more and more perceived as first business-friendly and then innovative,” he said. “So the more … we elaborate and increase the strength of this place the more you will attract investors coming from the United States and China.”

Macron is pushing for Europe to create 10 technology giants worth 100 billion euros ($120 billion) each in valuation by 2030, in a bid to rival U.S. companies that dominate the sector.

But while a growing number of digital companies are lining up to go public via an initial public offering (IPO) or a buyout from a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), investments in tech lag those seen in the United States and China.

Macron has since his election in 2017 championed investment in the digital economy as a key to lower unemployment and stimulating economic growth and vowed to turn the country into a “startup nation.”

Four years on, France’s startup scene has prospered, with more than a dozen so-called unicorns, or companies valued 1 billion euros or more.

French startups raised a record 5.4 billion euros in 2020, up 7% from a year earlier, according to EY.

None of the biggest global digital companies are European, however, and some market debuts of highly anticipated IPOs, like that of French digital music company Believe, were disappointing. –