Forum. If the american giants of Silicon Valley are sometimes fawned on the occasion of the launch of their products, sometimes censured for their grip on our daily life, massive use of personal data or the bit of tax they pay, a topic that remains largely overlooked : their growing influence in international finance.
A strong commercial success unprecedented, the flagship companies of the technology have accumulated mountains of cash. The ten richest of them are, in descending order of the amount of their cash at the end of 2017, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Oracle, Facebook, Qualcomm, Amazon, Intel, and IBM.
These Big Tech stack today 780 billion of cash and cash equivalents (640 billion), with an average annual growth of 16 % since 2000. By way of comparison, this represents three and a half times the cash flow of the ten richest oil companies in the world (Total, BP, Petrobras, Sinopec, Shell, Rosneft, Gazprom, Eni, Statoil and PetroChina) and two and a half times that of the CAC-37 – the CAC 40 less than the banks.
To find orders of magnitude to be comparable, we must in fact turn to the financial sphere. The treasure of the Big Tech approach the level of foreign exchange reserves of the central banks of the emerging regions of the world : 90 % of the reserves of the countries of Latin America or Southeast Asia, 70 % of those in the Middle East or even 90 % of the outstanding stock of the ten largest bond funds in the world.
In less than twenty years, the american giants of the digital – foremost among them Apple, which concentrates 34 % of the total cash of the Top 10 – have accumulated financial portfolios that compete in volume with the largest investment vehicles of the giants of the asset management such as BlackRock, Vanguard or Pimco.
Everything suggests that this hegemony will continue. A possible…