Spanish Show Pushes Laggard E-Business

[Madrid, SPAIN] Spain’s top technology show placed renewed emphasis on
e-business this week and encouraged laggard Spanish businesses to make
their leap into the online realm.

The SIMO TCI– the annual International Data Processing, Multimedia and
Communications Show began on Tuesday and will run through the weekend.
Of the more than 800 firms represented, half were related to information
technology. One of the eight warehouse-like pavillions was reserved for
companies specializing entirely in e-business.

This year’s series of professional seminars, entitled “Present and Future
of the Virtual Economy: Electronic Commerce Between Companies and
Individuals,” focused entirely on e-commerce. The four-day gathering
addressed such issues as “E-commerce and technology”; “B2B company
applications”; “B2C: The hour of the consumer”; and “Small and medium
enterprises and E-commerce: How to become a Net-ready company.”

Also within the framework of the show was an international forum on
international venture capital for Internet ventures. British Telecom’s
Nieves Feijoo Alvarez lectured a group of investors and entrepreneurs about
“the evolution of companies toward the ‘.com,'” and venture capitalist
Jaume Berg explained tech ventures from the investor’s point of view.

“We’re living in a Darwinian world where we’re seeing dramatic changes in
the market, forcing all of us to evolve,” said Berge, managing director at
Granville Baird Capital Partners.

“The bad news is that there is a low number of Internet users in Spain. The
good news is that the potential for market penetration is enormous.”

More than 20 online entrepreneurs pitched a wide range of Net-only projects
to venture capitalists from around Europe. While some of these were small,
pure Internet plays, others were established Spanish firms seeking money
and strategic partners to make the brick-to-click leap.

A country of 40 million, Spain tails much of Europe in the Internet game,
with only five million Internet users. An even smaller percentage of these
shop online.

After two years of telecom liberalization, more than 55 telecoms are vying
for Spanish consumers and laying down infrastructure. Broadband companies
like Jazztel and ONO expect an explosion in Spanish broadband Internet
needs over the next few years, and hundreds of value-added companies are
vying for the expected onslaught of customers.

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