Does the European high-tech sector need to consolidate in order to weigh on the world?

by bold-lichterman

European industries are too dependent on foreign players according to an AT Kearney report.

Admittedly, the speech is recurrent – and even a little boring – but Europe is losing speed in the high-tech sector to the benefit of the United States and Asia, according to a study published by the American firm AT Kearney . In terms of world champion, of the nine European companies listed among the 100 largest players in information and communication technologies, one of them, Nokia, should be withdrawn, bringing the number of European groups to eight. In this world market estimated in 2012 at 1 670 billion dollars, Europe is however not completely beside the dynamics but would not sufficiently exploit its assets.

“The situation is indeed worrying for a Europe which claimed in its Lisbon agenda, adopted in 2000, to become by 2010“ the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010 ”. The objective is missed and the signals are red. However, our European industry needs to rely on powerful software players in order to continue to develop ”explains Jean-Pierre Corniou, Deputy Managing Director of Sia Partners, contacted by Frenchweb.

The nuggets of Europe “are in B2B, and there are also leaders in smaller sectors that do not make the top 100. However, overall, Europe has very few companies from the ICT large enough to act as “consolidators” in the final phase of each segment. This leaves others vulnerable to takeovers by big rivals from other regions, ”explains Axel Freyberg, co-author of the study. ” Start-ups are numerous, but never exceed the critical size to become global. Their creators often prefer to sell them than to develop them “confirms Mr. Corniou, before adding:” we have only two champions in the sector of large enterprise software, SAP, seven times more important in turnover than the second. publisher, Dassault Systems, followed by companies with less than a billion dollars in turnover, too small to be able to consolidate the sector. The risk is that the consolidation will be done by the Americans ”.

From 2011 to 2015, the Old Continent should experience an average annual growth rate of sales of 2.2%, against more than 5% in the United States and Asia according to AT Kearney. Main factor mentioned: “European companies, in particular IT service providers, are more beholden to regional demand developments than their American and Asian counterparts, and could therefore lose market share”, explains Thomas Kratzert, co -author.

And the stake would be more important than it seems. At a time when Angela Merkel advocates a “European Internet” to prevent consumer data from being transferred to the United States following the revelations of surveillance orchestrated by the NSA, the American cabinet stresses that many European industries are too dependent on non-European technology groups, whether for production or innovation.

If it highlights the awareness of the authorities, in particular that of the European Commission which launched the Horizon 2020 program – an investment plan of 80 billion dollars from 2014 to 2020 – these efforts would only mitigate the “decline », Without reversing the trend. “There needs to be a strategic master plan in which the EU spends the majority of its efforts to grow promising ICT sectors, and in which an industrial policy aims to help the main players to maintain and expand their positions” according to Mr. Freyberg .

“The attraction of Silicon Valley is too strong. This is where the talents and the financiers are. Also, we must jump into the next generation: the internet of things, health, energy, transport and carry out vigorous plans to bring together talents in a European Silicon valley with keys to financing, taxation and clear profit sharing ”concludes Mr. Corniou.

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