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EU considers €100bn tech fund to rival Apple, Alibaba – reports

The EU is reportedly weighing plans for a €100bn (£90bn) fund that it hopes will fuel promising European technology companies and stave off competition from larger Chinese and US-based rivals such as Amazon and Alibaba.

Under proposed plans set out by civil servants in Brussels, the so-called European Future Fund would invest in sectors that have fallen behind global rivals in recent years, according to documents seen by both Politico and the Financial Times.

The initiative is part of a collection of suggestions presented to the incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who enters office on 1 November.

The fund would prioritise acquiring long-term equity stakes in “EU-based corporates in strategically important sectors”.

“The emergence and leadership of private non-EU competitors, with unprecedented financial means, has the potential to obliterate the existing innovation dynamics and industrial position of EU industry in certain sectors,” read the plans for the fund.

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Europe lacks companies such as Microsoft, Google, Alibaba, Apple, Facebook, and Tencent, according to the officials.

“Europe has no such companies,” the document reportedly notes. “This presents a risk to growth, jobs, and to Europe’s influence in key strategic sectors.”

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More than half of the world’s unicorns – or start-ups valued at over $1bn – are based in the US, according to research firm CB Insights.

Europe, meanwhile, has only a handful of recognised start-up success stories, including Deliveroo, Shazam, Skyscanner, Trivago, and Spotfiy.

In recent months, both Germany and France have called for stauncher opposition to what they see as the encroachment of much larger international competitors, particularly state-subsidised Chinese firms.

According to the draft plans, money for the €100bn sovereign wealth fund could be taken from EU government budgets.

That money could be allocated in the next long-term EU budget, the document suggests.

The incoming European Commission will “invest in innovation and research, redesign our economy and update our industrial policy”, according to Ms Von der Leyen.

A spokesperson for Ms Von der Leyen told Politico that “nobody in the [president-elect’s] transition team has heard of that mysterious European Future Fund.”

SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/eu-considers-eur100bn-tech-fund-to-rival-apple-alibaba-reports-11791630

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