Following are excerpts from a CNBC interview with Bernard Charlès, CEO of Dassault, from the World Economic Forum 2017 with Geoff Cutmore and Steve Sedgwick
GC: Welcome back, everybody. This is Capital Connection, we're joining you from the World economic Forum in Davos. Let's talk a bit about technology, and how companies in this space are doing. Bernard Charlès has joined us, from Dassault Systèmes c, he's the man who runs that business. Bernard, good to see you this morning. Look, there is this sort of view here that Europe is still not firing on all cylinders, but US companies are doing better, on anticipation of Donald Trump's arrival in the White House, and also just a general improvement in growth. How have you found Europe over the last year?
BC: Well, if I look at the last two years in Europe, on the number of innovation programmes, it has never been as high. Look at even the sector of mobility, look at the new number of electrical vehicle programmes on the next five years. Extremely compelling. So I think there is more in Europe in terms of innovation than what we think. The number of start-ups now, I think money is flowing in Europe for start-ups, the number of start-ups has grown in a significant way in the last two years. So I'm quite positive, but there are of course political issues.
GC: Yes, well we'll not get too detailed on your numbers, because I know you're in a closed period, but I also want to ask you about Asia. President Xi was here, talking about globalization and the necessity for it, but a lot of people are still worried about growth slowing in the Chinese economy. What's y our experience?
BC: Well, in the last two years I have observed also a number of incredible innovations in China. You see that in many high tech sectors, also in transportation, aircraft even, highly sophisticated technology. I think they are really addressing the innovation of tomorrow in a more sustainable way, and they are very serious about it. Look at the rules they are putting in place for the cities to reduce pollution, with electrical vehicles on many of those initiatives. They are very tough initiatives for the industry, but they want to address their challenges, and I find that President Xi's speech was very aligned with what you observe.
SS: I had a great panel yesterday, and it was-, Oleg Deripaska was a large part of it, and he said EV, electric vehicles, don't give me that, I've got no interest, basically it's an excuse for people with electricity production to actually carry on with more and more coal and the renewables is cover for a lot of countries to produce more and more coal. Let's face it, there's too much coal in the system. So we talk about the brave new world, but actually it's based on some really dirty old technology still, though, isn't it?
BC: That's true, but the cycle for energy is not the cycle for high tech, and I think to go out from coal we need about 20 years. Now, with this coal technology you can still improve many of the things that we have not done well in the past. So this mixed energy transition is a long cycle. It will happen, and I believe if we are not careful, they will invest products and solutions that will be winning on the worldwide market.
GC: Bernard, we've got to wrap it up with you, but we'll see you again, I think, in a couple of weeks, so thanks very much for joining us here in Davos.
BC: Thank you very much.
GC: Bernard Charlès, with us from Dassault Systèmes. Pauline, back to you.