Macron bemoans nonsense innovation, takes aim at Chinese and U.S. tech bonanza

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron called out on Wednesday what he described as excesses of liquidity in the U.S. and Chinese financial markets, some of which he said could instead foster the growth of tech companies in Europe.

FILE PHOTO: France’s President Emmanuel Macron holds a news conference during the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“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 an 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. ($1 = 0.8329 euro)

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