When I talk with e-commerce companies about the advantages of doing business from Luxembourg, I cover two main points. Firstly, I describe the powerful Internet backbone which is anchored by the TERALINK high-speed broadband network and Luxembourg’s state-of-the art datacentres. Secondly, I talk about the VAT advantage. But in 2015, the VAT rules will change and this advantage will go away.
In order to understand how Luxembourg will still be able to attract e-commerce companies after 2015, I sought out Luxembourg resident Rick Minor who is arguably one of Europe's top e-commerce business experts. What he told me was very reassuring: “Luxembourg is on the short list of countries to look at for non-EU e-commerce businesses wanting to invest in Europe.” Rick then gave me an important insight. “Since 2003,” he said, “VAT put Luxembourg on the e-commerce map.” Now, thanks to state-of-the-art infrastructure which includes world-class datacentres and connectivity, it will stay on the map.” As he put it, “once a country is on the map, it is hard to fall off.”
That’s why we’re seeing online gaming and online content companies coming to Luxembourg even though the VAT advantage will only last for another 3 more years.
Therefore, the good news is that Luxembourg is likely to make the short list. But the challenge is that after 2015 there will be no single advantage that differentiates Luxembourg from the other countries. Then, what can we do to attract e-commerce companies?
“Be proactive now,” says Rick with emphasis. A company like TERALINK or Luxembourg trade representatives can win business for Luxembourg if they proactively go out and talk to companies and find out what these companies need. “Every company is different. Listen to them and come back quickly with solutions for their specific issues. Speed of response is very important to these companies, especially in today´s competitive climate.”
“And,” Rick added, “don’t forget to engage with the companies already here. You want to be sure you are actively pursuing all avenues to preserve the Luxembourg value proposition.”
After 2015, I’m now convinced that Luxembourg will be at least equal to any other European country. That means, as International Sales Manager for TERALINK, I have an important part to play in proactively contacting e-commerce companies around the world. And I’m already taking action, as I have a series of meetings with e-commerce companies scheduled this week in China.
Thank you Rick for your inspiring insights.
Rick Minor is a lawyer and senior e-commerce executive with significant in-house and advisory firm experience representing US Fortune100 companies before government authorities. He was General Manager and Chairman of AOL Europe Services for 8 years and is now Principal at Spitze Luxembourg.