Angela Merkel on Tuesday warned German industry to respond faster to
the challenges posed by Amazon and other online giants or risk turning
into their “workbenches”.
The chancellor said Amazon’s planned acquisition of food retailer Whole
Foods showed how fast the digital and real world were converging.
Speaking at the annual conference of the BDI, the German industry
association, Ms Merkel called on companies to develop so-called C2B platform
to link companies directly to consumers.
Ms Merkel, a former research scientist with a passion for technology, was echoing widely held concerns among German manufacturers that US internet giants could capture their markets as they invest in self-driven electric cars, for example.
The chancellor also pledged to keep fighting for open markets in the face of the threat of “isolation and protectionism”. She warned that she faced difficulties in the face of US president Donald Trump’s policies, including in achieving consensus at next month’s G20 summit in Hamburg which she is chairing. But the chancellor pledged to strive for “widest possible agreement”.