Tag Archives: France

New problems for embattled Huawei in France and Germany
December 14, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

FRANKFURT/PARIS (Reuters) – Huawei [HWT.UL] faces fresh challenges in Europe after France’s Orange said it would not hire the Chinese firm to build its next-generation network and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom announced it would review its vendor strategy.

People walk past a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The shift by the national market leaders, both partly state owned, follows Huawei’s exclusion on national security grounds by some U.S. allies, led by Australia, from building their fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks.

U.S. officials have briefed allies that Huawei is ultimately at the beck and call of the Chinese state, while warning that its network equipment may contain “back doors” that could open them up to cyber espionage.

Huawei says those concerns are unfounded. Tensions have been heightened by the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada for possible extradition to the United States.

“We don’t foresee calling on Huawei for 5G,” Orange CEO Stephane Richard told reporters in Paris. “We are working with our traditional partners – they are Ericsson and Nokia.”

Richard said he considered the security concerns to be legitimate: “I absolutely understand that all of our countries, and the French authorities, are preoccupied. We are too.”

Responding, Huawei said it was not a supplier to Orange’s existing 4G network in France and would not feature in the company’s 5G plans in France. Huawei does supply Orange’s networks outside France and expects to be involved in 5G there, it said.

U.S. EXPOSURE

Deutsche Telekom, Europe’s largest telecoms company, said it was reviewing its vendor plans given the debate on the security of Chinese network gear in Germany and the other European markets where it operates.

“Deutsche Telekom takes the global discussion about the security of network equipment from Chinese vendors very seriously,” the company said in response to a Reuters query.

Telekom already pursues a multi-vendor strategy, relying above all on equipment from Ericsson, Nokia, Cisco and Huawei. “Nevertheless we are reassessing our procurement strategy,” it said.

The shift is significant because, so far, German officials have said they see no legal basis to exclude any vendors from the buildout of fifth-generation networks in response to the warnings from Washington.

Nearly half of the German company’s revenues come, however, from its profitable and fast-growing U.S. unit T-Mobile, which is undergoing regulatory scrutiny of its $ 26 billion bid to take over Sprint Corp.

A source at one competitor said: “This looks like an appeasement strategy towards the U.S. government over the Sprint deal.”

Other German telecoms players say, meanwhile, that they are continuing talks with Chinese vendors as they draw up proposals to take part in Germany’s auction of 5G licences in early 2019.

“We are watching the discussion very closely, but we will not participate in the current speculation,” said Telefonica Deutschland, Germany’s No.3 operator that has existing relationships with Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese vendor.

United Internet, a potential new entrant that is weighing bidding for a 5G licence, said it was in talks with two vendors on its strategy – one of which is Chinese. A spokesman declined to identify the vendor but according to media reports it is ZTE.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom AG is seen at the company’s headquarters in Bonn February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Analysts say German telecoms operators depend heavily on Huawei, meaning it will be hard to rip out and replace its existing gear or to cope without the Chinese company, the world’s top network supplier, in building their 5G networks.

“If the Chinese companies are excluded, this would reduce the number of vendors – and that could drive costs higher,” said Hans Schotten of the Technical University in Kaiserslautern.

“For that reason, many vendors would be reluctant to do without Huawei.”

Additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic and Nadine Schimroszik; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Keith Weir

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Carrefour, Google sign online shopping tie-up in France
June 11, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s largest food retailer Carrefour (CARR.PA) is teaming up with Google (GOOGL.O) to boost its online shopping business on its home turf, where rivals are also launching e-commerce offensives.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Carrefour is seen on shopping trolleys at the Carrefour Lingostiere in Nice, France, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

Carrefour said on Monday that from next year its groceries would be available on the U.S. search engine’s new dedicated shopping site in France, or through Google-operated systems such as connected speakers and voice-assisted devices.

The tie-up comes amid a broader shake-up in France’s competitive food retail market as retailers invest in online platforms and home delivery services to win over clients and ward off in-roads by U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.

Casino’s upmarket Monoprix chain in March became the first French retailer to agree to sell products on Amazon. Casino also has a home delivery partnership with UK online retailer Ocado (OCDO.L).

Alphabet Inc’s Google, meanwhile, has been pushing to roll out new shopping services to retailers such as Walmart (WMT.N), enabling them to list products on a special shopping site or Google Assistant on mobile phones and voice devices.

The U.S. firm hopes the program will allow retailers to capture more purchases on mobile phones or smart home devices. The Carrefour deal marks the first partnership in France.

The companies said in a statement they would open an innovation lab in Paris this summer, in partnership with Google Cloud, for research into artificial intelligence that can be used in consumer services.

Google will also roll out its G Suite productivity tools – where it rivals Microsoft Office – to the entire Carrefour group and its 160,000 employees, the companies said.

Reporting by Sarah White and Pascale Denis; Editing by Mark Potter

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U.S. entrepreneur bets on new Silicon Valley in west France
December 6, 2017 12:28 pm|Comments (0)

PARIS (Reuters) – When Rob Spiro left San Francisco to settle in France with his wife and kid in 2016, the family chose a mid-sized city on France’s west coast over Paris’ burgeoning start-up scene.

Rob Spiro, American entrepreneur and Director of Imagination Machine, poses in Nantes, France, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

At 32, the Yale-educated entrepreneur and former Google product manager had already co-founded two start-ups, including one sold to Google for $ 50 million in 2010.

In Nantes, France’s sixth largest city, known for its mediaeval castle and whimsical mechanical creatures, he sees the potential for a smaller version of America’s Silicon Valley, home to tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google.

Quality of life, not money, is the key, he says.

“What everybody in Nantes sees and experiences is that there are thousands of people who move here from Paris,” he said at his start-up accelerator, Imagination Machine.

“They’re looking for a better quality of life, but they want to remain in a city that is active and dynamic.”

His “incubator”, financially backed by the region’s biggest companies, opened its doors in June to support the launch of selected start-ups with seed funding and mentoring.

Nantes itself is part of the promotional picture. The city was ranked second after Bordeaux among cities where Parisian executives would wish to move, according to an August poll for recruiting website Cadremploi.fr.

“Here’s the strategy to become the next Silicon Valley: become a place where people, especially young people, want to live,” Spiro said.

With venture capital investments reaching new records in Europe, the competition to lure new tech companies goes beyond the three usual metropolises – London, Paris, Berlin – and now includes smaller cities that bet on their own mix of schools, research centers, investors and culture to lure hotshots.

RECORD INVESTMENTS

Gregoire Monconduit, Atelier Rosemmod CEO, poses in Nantes, France, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Venture capital firms invested 8.7 billion euros ($ 10.3 billion) in European tech companies in the first half of 2017, up 21 percent from the year before, according to Dealroom. Such investments jumped 18 percent to 1.3 billion over the same period in France, putting it third after Britain and Germany.

The trend is now gaining further momentum, driven by high expectations for business-friendly policies under new President Emmanuel Macron and the uncertainties caused by the British vote to leave the European Union.

Nantes-based iAdvize has benefited from the boom. The company, which offers a marketing platform connecting customers to experts, closed a 32-million-euro fundraising in October.

It is one of the prime examples of Nantes’ success in the tech field, along with Akeneo, which makes software for retailers, and Lengow, which does the same for e-commerce sites.

Slideshow (2 Images)

French venture capital fund Alven has shares in all three.

Part of Spiro’s plan for boosting Nantes’ profile is inviting former U.S. colleagues to come and check it out. Julian Nachtigal, who worked as head of Spiro’s second start-up, signed up for the “French tech visa” available since January.

“I never imagined it would be so easy to get a four-year residential visa to the EU,” Nachtigal said, comparing Europe favorably to the U.S. approach under President Donald Trump.

“There’s a growing trend of people leaving Silicon Valley to live elsewhere,” he added, citing the high cost of living.

Within France, too, a similar trend can be seen. Gregoire Monconduit, co-founder of Atelier Rosemood, an online maker of personalized birth announcements and wedding invitations, chose to move to Nantes years ago from Paris.

“We hesitated between three cities: Lyon, Aix and Nantes,” he said. “We thought we’d be out of Paris for three years, it’s been six years already and it’s the best decision we made.”

A long road lies ahead, however, if Nantes is to catch up with Paris, where a 34,000-square-metre megacampus for start-ups, called Station F, opened in June.

The Parisian region drew three quarters of all venture capital investments in the first half of this year, according to accounting firm EY. The region that includes Nantes got less than 3 percent of the total.

Editing by Luke Baker and Gareth Jones

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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