Another year of Davos is over, and major discussions covering big economic global futures, including the technology industry, have taken place. I took the opportunity when I was visiting Munich and Paris for OneChocolate’s annual kick-offs (and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of OneChocolate Paris - many congratulations team!) to ask: While Davos is discussing big visionary strategies, what are your thoughts on European communications in the technology industry from the ground?
OneChocolate’s German head of office, Heike said: ‘Germany is currently experiencing its 9th year of growth, and for 2018, the GDP is expected to gain at least 2 percent. This makes the market, with over 80 million consumers, the economic powerhouse in Europe and there is no immediate change in sight. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low since the reunification in 1990 and consumer spending is unusually high. Now, after the future coalition government under the lead of long-time chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be sorted and is not seen to bring substantial changes from a political perspective, German companies can continue to concentrate on their strengths: innovation in multiple sectors like manufacturing, automotive, pharma – to name a few.
Saying so, there is one big challenge for all, which is currently the big topic in the media and political discussion: digitalisation. Whether it’s the big names in the industry like Siemens, BMW, Bayer or the “Mittelstand”, Germany’s strong SMB sector is seen as the backbone of the national economy – and they are all coming to terms with the impact, advantages and the transformation costs of digitalisation on their individual businesses and have started to face this challenge. Accordingly, we currently see a high demand for experts as well as for solutions supporting companies on their way into the digital future.
OneChocolate’s French head of office, Ed said: As the French economy is regaining momentum, the image of France too is evolving. We’ve seen a huge number of startups forming in France and growing tremendously fast in the last few years, and it looks like enthusiasm for entrepreneurship is here to stay. Last year saw the inauguration of Station F, the world’s largest startup incubator, located in central Paris, which will host 1,000 startups across its 34,000-meter square of office space.
France is also keen to be recognised as a major innovation and tech player on the global stage and is making significant strides towards that goal. Viva Technology, a CES-like event gathering global corporations and startups around the theme of innovation, launched in 2016 and has seen remarkable success, attracting top speakers from the industry. France’s efforts to boost its appeal have not gone unnoticed, as it was recently announced that Google and Facebook would both be opening AI research centers in France.
Interesting times lay ahead for Europe and the technology industry with plenty of challenges and opportunities, as not only technology advances but also as the European landscape changes dramatically.