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A competitive, open leader

France provides a robust environment in which to do business – but don’t just take our word for it.  Every day in 2011, two new foreign companies decided to invest in France, joining more than 20,000 foreign companies already doing business in the country.

In 2012, France was the number one destination for foreign investment in industry in Ernst & Young’s European attractiveness rankings, putting it ahead of the United States, Germany and Japan. New investors are following in sound footsteps: France boasts 32 of the world's 500 largest companies (32 are German and 26 are British). (Fortune Global 500, 2012) 

In fact, overall, France is among the three largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recipients in Europe after the UK and Belgium. It is as result of key investment incentives and advantages that France is one of the largest recipients of foreign direct investment in Europe – attracting US$40 billion in foreign investment flows in 2011. (IFA 2011 Report: Job Creating Foreign Investment in France)

France offers investors major market potential and a place to profit and thrive. It offers a cost-competitive, business-friendly environment and is a major driving force in Europe for public and private investment within a stable long-term political and economic framework.

France is a well-established place to do business. It is the second largest economic power in the European Union (IMF, 2012), the fifth largest economy in the world, the sixth largest exporter of goods and the fourth largest exporter of services. (WTO, 2011)

Key ingredients to France’s investment attractiveness include:

  • Its size (population of more than 65 million).
  • Its strength (purchasing power, consumption and demographics).
  • Its location (a strategic springboard into Europe, at the heart of the European Single Market with more than 500 million consumers).
  • Its highly productive and skilled workforce.
  • Its competitive research tax credit.
  • The quality of its infrastructure.

In Europe, France boasts:

  • The largest aerospace and nuclear sectors. (Eurostat, 2012 / PWC 2011
  • The second largest chemical industry and agrifood sectors. (Eurostat 2012 / French Chemicals Industry Federation (UIC) 2012)
  • The third-largest ICT and pharmaceutical  sectors. (European Information Technology Observatory (EITO), 2011, Association of French Pharmaceutical Companies (LEEM) 2011, French Agriculture Ministry, 2010)

Domestically, France offers:

  • Thriving regional economies, supported by regional economic development agencies. Each region has its own specific characteristics and skill sets which it promotes to attract international investment projects in a wide range of sectors.
  • 71 innovation clusters (six of which are dedicated to green technology) stimulating R&D through public-private partnerships.
  • Paris is the third most popular location in the world for Fortune Global 500 company headquarters. (Fortune Global 500, 2012)

France is committed to remaining competitive and staying one step ahead. Examples of this include the country’s dedication to developing Green technologies and its digital economy. France is a major energy player, attracting major leading investors such as General Electric, Siemens and Toshiba. The country is particularly advanced in championing green technologies, renewable energies and hybrid cars.

As part of its drive to be even more competitive and encourage innovation, the French government has introduced a €35 billion state-funded “National Investment Program” to underpin the competitiveness of the French economy. Major infrastructure projects include €19 billion in funding for higher education and research and another €16 billion to preserve industrial competitiveness, promote sustainable development and support the digital economy.

"France has many assets to attract Chinese investors: the market, the image of France in the world, all the mature "business ecosystems", a very healthy industry, and a lot of facilities, including good quality transport networks,”

Leo Sun, CEO Huawei France.