France is the future, says boss of US tech giant

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
France is the future, says boss of US tech giant
France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron with Cisco chief John Chambers. Photo: AFP

France and its Socialist government have been given a ringing endorsement from the boss of an American multinational, who believes the country is about to profoundly change. Air France executives might not agree, however.


Just days ago critics and commentators the world over were lambasting France for being stuck in the past after images of Air France execs having their shirts ripped off by angry workers made headlines around the globe.

Even the French president François Hollande accepted it was bad for the country’s image as it desperately tries to present itself as a safe home for foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

But there was far better news on Thursday when John Chambers, boss of US multinational tech giant Cisco had only positive words to say about the country and in particular it’s thriving start up scene that will "change all lives".

“I believe in this country. France is on the point of profoundly transforming itself,” Chambers told Europe 1 radio.

“We understand market trends. They followed us when we went to India and China and I think that France is the future and other entrepreneurs will follow,” he said.

“I have the impression of seeing Silicon Valley in France,” said Chambers, who was in Paris to open the Cisco Innovation Research Lab in Paris along with the country’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron

Chambers announced that Cisco was to double its planned €100 million investment in start-ups in France next year to €200million, that reflects around 10 percent of the company’s overall investment around the world.

Although it is unclear for now where and how that money will be invested.

Chambers is not just any company boss. He heads one of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley – which designs and sells networking technology. Cisco is worth around €50 billion dollars.

But he believes France is the leading country in the EU for start-ups right now.

“The French government understood what was happening a year ago. It hit us that the politicians in charge of France understood better that all the others the digital revolution that is underway,” said Chambers.

“Germany the United Kingdom, all these countries are following in France’s footsteps.”

“You have a government that understands the big changes that are taking place in the world, a government that’s very pragmatic,” said Chambers.

“There’s a generation of French start-ups that will profoundly transform our way of lives,” he added.

Chamber's bigging up of France made such an impression on Thursday that at one point his name was trending near the top of Twitter in France as was the name of his company.

That was in part due to the fact his ode to France was gobbled up by the French press, who are always eager to hear what US and British leaders have to say about the state of the country.



However for once there was no sign of the French bashing they have come to expect.




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