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🦄 European Unicorns or Infrastructure?

🦄 European Unicorns or Infrastructure?
Photo by Charles Forerunner / Unsplash

I find it difficult to reconcile the recent explosion of European unicorns and how we dropped the ball on crucial technology infrastructure investments.

We decided that engaging in a race to be the next Amazon web store or the next Facebook was key to the future of Europe as an economic leader. Ten/fifteen years later, we have the unicorns, most of them funded via a U.S. IPO, and most of them only concerned by non-essential market problems.

Meanwhile, we can’t source microchips for our most essential infrastructure elements, from cars to servers. We can’t maintain cheap energy prices. Deep down, the digitization of our administrations and our industries is still stuck around 2005.

Discussing Europe’s geopolitical sovereignty when semiconductor production evolved since the 1990s is simply appalling (*see chart below*).

So what went wrong?

I don’t know, really, but the question I was asking myself this morning is as follows: hasn’t Europe been the victim of U.S. soft power too much? Haven’t we been caught up in the meaningless narrative, not unlike USSR trying to win the space race (and eventually exsanguinated trying to “win” Reagan’s Star Wars program)?

Of course, just yesterday, Apple broke records on the stock market, but here again, we’re caught in a weird narrative. Apple is not an American business leader because they sell a lot of phones (which they do). This is only the consequence. Their leadership is very much on producing their microchips (still in Asia for now) and securing a monstrous supply chain for their worldwide benefit.

Where is Europe? And most importantly: where do we want to be ten years from now?

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Where are microchips produced? The evolution of semi-conductors production per country/region in %.