How to invest in France

Doing Business in France

Investment strategies

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World-Class Infrastructure

1ST Europe’s leading business aviation airport (Le Bourget) and leading airport for freight / 2nd in terms of passenger traffic (Paris Charles de Gaulle).

2nd longest high-speed rail network in Europe

France is ranked third in Europe for its national road system, with more than 11,450 km of motorways (7,115 miles). (Eurostat, 2016)

Second largest electricity supply in the EU. (WEF, 2017)

A leading and open economy

France is the world’s fifth largest economy, the second biggest consumer market in Europe and the world’s seventh largest foreign investor. It offers a wide array of business opportunities for investors and has a proven track record of attracting and retaining foreign companies and key talent.

CONTRIBUTION OF FOREIGN COMPANIES TO THE FRENCH ECONOMY

- 16 % of value added in the French economy,    

- 30 % of all French exports,

- More than 45% of the equity of companies listed on the CAC 40 is owned by non-residents,

Nearly 21% of business enterprise R&D is conducted by foreign companies.

FRANCE WELCOMES FOREIGN TALENT AND INVESTMENT   

France is the leading host country for foreign investment in industry (EY, 2016).

25,000 foreign-owned subsidiaries (Eurostat, 2016) and 1,117 new FDI projects in 2016 (Business France 2016).

Deep Talent Pool

High hourly labor productivity rate, ahead of Germany and the United Kingdom. (The Conference Board, 2017)High hourly labor productivity rate, ahead of Germany and the United Kingdom. (The Conference Board, 2017)

1.6 million scientists and engineers and 44% of 25- to 34-year-olds have a tertiary education qualification, compared with 30.5% in Germany and 25.6% in Italy. (OECD, Education at a Glance, 2017)

Some of the best business schools in the world

Three of the six best establishments offering Master’s courses in management are French. (FT, 2017)

New and innovative players such as 42, a coding school in Paris, train 900 developers per year. Fourth leading host country in the world with 309, 600 foreign nationals enrolled in higher education. (UNESCO, Atlas Project, 2016)

FRANCE WELCOMES TALENT

www.welcometofrance.com 

Free online dedicated service operated by Business France to help you to settle in France.

Expatriates enjoy a tailor-made tax regime applicable for eight years, offering an income tax exemption of between 30% and 50% of their total pay.

ENTREPRENEUR IS A FRENCH WORD!

France is a ‘Startup Nation’ with no fewer than 12,000 startups and the largest startup campus in Europe, Station F, located in Paris.

Strategic Position

Europe was the world’s second largest market in 2017. With more than 67 million inhabitants and direct access to more than 500 million consumers in the European Single Market.

Largest concentration of headquarters in Europe. (Fortune Global 500)

France offers a central European location providing easy access to EMEA and African markets.

Healthcare

Grow your business in an ecosystem at the cutting edge of innovation by joining the world’s leading nation in vaccines (both R&D and production), the leading European player in veterinary health, and the most innovative country in the European healthcare sector.

In France, you will find world-renowned medical research teams. Four French public research organizations (CEA, CNRS, INSERM and Institut Pasteur) are ranked among the world’s 25 most innovative institutions (Thomson Reuters, 2016). Thanks to a dense network of 2,694 healthcare institutions (both public and private) and well-managed care pathways conducive to medical research, a thousand clinical trials are undertaken in France every year.

Benefit from an environment that receives strong public-sector support. This support is reflected in seven specialist innovation clusters, cancer hubs, the National Cancer Institute (INCa), and an attractive healthcare system that provides health cover and widespread access to care.

The French healthcare market – worth €90 billion – is underpinned by the presence of 400 production facilities. Many foreign companies, such as Alexion (R&D), Novartis (R&D), GSK (vaccines) and Chiesi (pharmaceuticals), have already chosen to set up in France. Join them and take advantage of France’s excellence in medical research!

Food Industry

Agri-food is a major business sector for all of France’s regions and a key driver of the national economy.

In 2016, the agri-food industry was France’s leading industrial sector, employing 427,213 people and generating revenues of €172 billion, as well as the number one sector for foreign manufacturing investment in France (accounting for 15% of inward FDI).

World-renowned major companies (Danone, Perrier, Evian, McCain, Mars, Barilla, etc.) and numerous SMEs (17,647 firms) ensure that this the sector offers a huge array of expertise.

As Europe’s second largest consumer market, France offers significant commercial opportunities, with direct access to the European Single Market. Resolutely focused on the global economy, France’s agri-food sector is the world’s fourth largest exporter, with €44.2 billion in food exports.

Excellent on-the-job training in agri-food professions, stringent health and hygiene standards, and a strong emphasis on innovation and R&D (including 11 innovation clusters) mean that the sector is one of the country’s most vibrant, offering a wealth of investment opportunities.

Choose the country whose gourmet food is a global benchmark, recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

 

Choose France

Robotics

France is one of the world’s leading markets for industrial robots, and one of the most advanced countries for development and testing of service robots. Nearly a dozen manufacturers of industrial robots and cobots (collaborative robots) and around 400 integrators have a presence in France.

By investing in France, your business will be able to tap into an environment conducive to technological innovation, with world-class research centers heavily involved in the business world, especially in the development of cobots.

Unrivalled human expertise is on hand to help your business succeed. With a million creative engineers, France has plenty of value to offer. The Robotics Research Grouping (Groupement de Recherche en Robotique – GdR) brings together over 1,400 researchers and engineers from various public- and private-sector institutions. It will be easy for you to find the recruits you need thanks to a growing number of degree-level programs specific to robotics, such as the ColRobot Mastère Spécialisé® (specialist master’s degree) in collaborative robotics, offered by the ENSAM engineering school since 2016.

The development of numerous French startups in the robotics sector offers opportunities for foreign players looking to step up their presence in France or share expertise about specific technological building blocks. The partnership between SoftBank and Aldebaran is just one example of a great success story for a foreign manufacturer in France.

Stäubli (Switzerland), Kuka (Germany) and SoftBank Robotics (Japan) are just a few of the foreign companies that have already chosen France. Join them to take advantage of France’s creativity in robotics!

Aerospace

France is at the cutting edge of aerospace technology, and has established itself as a global benchmark in the industry. If you choose France you will benefit from a technological environment that is unique in Europe. The country’s aerospace sector is a full industry in its own right, comprising prime contractors and a chain of subcontractors covering the entire range of expertise needed to deliver civil and military programs.

France is the ideal place to innovate: 21% of France’s researchers work in the aircraft and spacecraft construction industries, which spend 14% of their revenues on research and innovation. This capacity to innovate is furthered by three specialist innovation clusters: Aerospace Valley, ASTech Paris Region and SAFE Cluster.

Take advantage of the world’s most attractive tax arrangements for R&D expenditure, through tax measures like France’s research tax credit, which covers 30% of R&D spending up to €100 million, and the innovation tax credit, reserved for companies with fewer than 250 employees and revenues of under €50 million.

Draw on highly skilled human resources ready to help make your business a global leader. France is home to some of the world’s most outstanding aerospace and space engineers. The Graduate School in Aerospace Engineering, which opened in 2017, aims to become the biggest global campus in aviation and space engineering, with more than 250 researchers and over 280 doctoral and post-doctoral students.

By setting up in France, you will be able to enjoy world-class infrastructure that will simplify your production, supplies and delivery. Join the many companies that have already chosen France and all its benefits!

Choose France.

Information Technologies

France’s information technology market is one of the most buoyant in Europe, benefiting from an attractive R&D framework and world-class infrastructure.

This performance is reflected in France’s top ranking in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA.

Take advantage of an ecosystem supported by 415,000 data and software professionals developing competitive products and services for global markets.

You could join one of seven dedicated IT clusters located in various French regions.

You will have easy access to Europe’s cheapest ultra-high-speed broadband infrastructure. France is the only European country to have two world-class internet exchange points (in Paris and Marseille). This unique situation in Europe will help you to seize opportunities in fast-growing markets like big data, cloud computing and infotainment.

France is the software market leader, with more software vendors than any other country in Europe, according to the 2015 Truffle 100 rankings.

Take advantage of world-class expertise, with a pool of a million creative engineers and 13,000 experts (engineers and doctors) in artificial intelligence, a discipline central to the development of the IT sector.

Companies already benefiting from this cutting-edge expertise include Facebook, Microsoft and Fujitsu.

Financial Services

Paris: Europe’s new financial marketplace

Grow your business at the heart of the euro zone’s largest financial center.

Euronext Paris has the highest equity market capitalization of any European stock exchange (€3.6 trillion, compared with €1.8 trillion for Deutsche Börse) and is the leading European market for non-financial corporate bonds, totaling €606 billion, ahead of London.

France is at the heart of the European asset management market, hosting the euro zone’s highest concentration of players in the sector. More than 600 specialist companies are established in Paris, and the world’s 20 biggest asset managers include four French companies. Funds under management in France total €3.6 trillion (compared with €2.1 trillion in Germany).

With its entrepreneurial momentum and innovation-friendly environment, France has become a leading destination for venture capital. Total funds raised come to €9.5 billion, compared with €6 billion for Germany. This performance makes France the euro zone’s top financial market for venture capital.

By choosing France, you will have access to the very best expertise. Every year, thousands of talented and highly sought-after financiers are trained in France. Of the top 12 master’s degrees in finance analyzed by the Financial Times, six are awarded by French schools, while the number one-ranked MBA is awarded by INSEAD. Finally, France is the world number two in mathematics, training quantitative analysts (quants) who are recognized the world over for their high level of expertise. Recruit your human resources at the source – in France!

Choose France

http://www.chooseparisregion.fr/

France fosters entrepreneurship

France was ranked third in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index, with an entrepreneurial environment that seeks to make life easier for entrepreneurs. In 2016, only 3.5 days were needed to found a company in France, compared with 4.5 in the United Kingdom and 10.5 in Germany. In surveys, more than a third of French people say they would like to start up their own business.

 

Buoyant enterprise creation

France is ranked second in Europe for business numbers, with 3.8 million enterprises in the non-agricultural market sectors, including 1.1 million micro-entrepreneurs. These businesses employ 12.7 million people (full-time equivalent – FTE) and generate revenues in excess of €3.8 trillion, including €638 billion from exports.

At a time when the French government has put entrepreneurship at the top of its agenda, business creation has never been higher in France. In 2017, more than 594,500 firms were founded, 6.7% more than in 2016, and one of the highest increases in European Union countries.

In 2015, France was ranked second in Europe for net enterprise creation, which was up 2.3%, while Germany saw a decline of 0.8%.

The United Nations also ranks France 10th in the world and sixth in Europe for e-government. (United Nations E-Government Survey, 2016)

French business leaders are unwaveringly optimistic. In November 2017, business confidence, which was already set fair, improved yet further to achieve pre-crisis levels in several broad sectors, including industry and the wholesale/retail trades, where it has been at its highest since 2007, as well as construction, since 2008.

Entrepreneurship in France is on the rise. The results of the latest BNP Paribas-OpinionWay “The French and business” survey show that nearly half of French people (45%), and the younger generation in particular, are attracted by the idea of becoming an entrepreneur in what they see as a more business-friendly environment.

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France: a nation of entrepreneurs

Startup fundraising

French startups raised more than €2.5 billion in 2017, €400 million more than in 2016. Revenues were split between the digital (two-thirds) and life sciences sectors (one-third), as France saw an increase of 16.2% in sums raised and 5.4% in deals from 2016. These excellent results put France in second place in Europe for fundraising, both in terms of the number of deals and the sums raised. In 2017, France accounted for 18% of the sums raised and 15% of all deals recorded in Europe. The United Kingdom was responsible for 40% of the sums raised and 27% of all deals recorded, while in Germany these figures were 12% and 11%, respectively.

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Startup fundraising in France

Competitive business costs

One of France’s key strengths lies in the low business costs it offers foreign companies. According to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016 survey, total business operating costs were 9.5% lower in France than in the United States.

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France: a competitive tax system

Entrepreneurship scoreboard

France: a dynamic economy at the heart of Europe

With a GDP of US$2,575 billion at current prices in 2017, France is the world’s fifth largest economy after the United States, China, Japan and Germany.

 

A gateway to the EMEA

France was Europe’s leading host country for foreign subsidiaries in 2015, with more than 28,000, compared with 27,700 in Germany and 22,200 in the United Kingdom. (Eurostat)

France’s location, combined with first-class multimodal transport infrastructure, makes it an ideal springboard to other countries, continents and world regions, throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA).

France continues to be ranked first in the world for trading across borders, due to simplified electronic customs procedures, putting it ahead of Germany (38th) and the United Kingdom (28th). (World Bank)

France also boasts a buoyant demographic profile, and is the leading country in Europe by fertility rate, verging on two live births per woman.

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France: an attractive economy

A thriving startup ecosystem

Created in 2013, “La French Tech” is an ecosystem-building marketing and communication initiative that seeks to raise France’s profile and that of its startups with the venture capital industry, the media, opinion leaders from the tech industry and international entrepreneurs.

 

The “French Tech Ticket” offers foreign entrepreneurs founding their startup in France a special welcome pack (grant, visa, Helpdesk contact point, etc.). In 2017, Station F, the world’s largest startup incubator, opened its doors, providing office accommodation for up to 1,000 new fledgling businesses.

 

World-class infrastructure

France’s high-quality transport and communication infrastructure is widely acclaimed by foreign investors. France has first-class airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle is Europe’s largest airport for cargo and second largest for passengers after London Heathrow. France also boasts very attractive energy access, with a cost-effective and reliable electrical grid – electricity rates are among the most competitive in Europe – and an excellent broadband penetration rate (ranked second among major European countries).

France: a innovation powerhouse

With gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) of US$48.6 billion in 2015, amounting to 2.2% of GDP, France was ranked sixth in the world after the United States, China, Japan, Germany and South Korea.

Five sectors account for more than half of all business enterprise R&D expenditure in France: the automotive industry; aerospace; the pharmaceutical industry; scientific/technical activities and IT/computer services. Business enterprise R&D intensity increased 14% from 2007 to a new high in 2015.

 

Large pool of researchers

There were more than 266,000 researchers in France in 2016. With more than 14 R&D personnel per thousand labor force in 2014, including nine researchers, France was ranked fourth among the 14 countries compared by Business France in the “France Attractiveness Scoreboard” after Finland, Sweden and Austria. In 2016, 50.5% of economically active 25- to 64-year-olds in France were employed in science and technology and/or were tertiary education graduates, which is higher than the EU-28 average of 46%.

 

Supportive ecosystem

Almost all senior executives polled (more than 8 in 10 foreign decision-makers) believe that the French Tech is a useful initiative for promoting French expertise on the international stage. (Business France/Kantar Public survey)

Innovation is recognized by business decision-makers to be a driving force behind France’s attractiveness as an investment location, as is the thriving “La French Tech” ecosystem. These achievements show that French creativity and innovation go hand in hand towards achieving business success.

Moreover, the French tax system actively encourages R&D through France’s research tax credit. The number of private-sector researchers rose 30% between 2007 and 2014, as 37,000 high value-added jobs were created.

Throughout France, a large number of business incubators and accelerators are on hand to give new companies advice and guidance, as well as opportunities to work with a network of professionals. In 2017, the world’s largest incubator, Station F, opened its doors in Paris, with space for up to 1,000 startups.

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France : a innovation powerhouse

Innovative businesses

France is a haven for innovation by all businesses, large or small. With 97 companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA, France continues to outstrip all its European counterparts as the leading country for fast-growing technology companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

France is also the third leading country in the Top 100 Global Innovators, with 10 French entities among the 100 most innovative organizations in the world. They include three research centers (CNRS, CEA, IFP Energies Nouvelles) and seven companies (Alstom, Arkema, Safran, Saint-Gobain, Thales, Total and Valeo).

Highly qualified, productive workforce

Eighty-six percent of foreign chief executives surveyed believe that workforce education and training in France is an attractive criterion for foreign investment.

With an outlay on education equivalent to more than 5% of GDP, France is one of the countries that invests the most in its education system.

France attracted more than 310,000 foreign students in 2015-16 (Campus France, 2017), and was the leading non-anglophone destination in the world for international students. (UNESCO, 2017)

France is ranked first in the FT Masters in Management, with two Parisian institutions in the top 10 (HEC and ESSEC).

Labor productivity is high in France on both a per-employee and hourly basis: in 2016, France was ranked seventh in the world for hourly labor productivity.

France also has a very well qualified workforce: 44.7% of 25- to 34-year-olds hold a tertiary qualification, as do 33.5% of 25- to 64-year-olds.

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France: a talent hub

Real-estate research

We offer real-estate research (land, office, brownfield). 

Our performance-driven process works: we start by listening to your needs and then analyze your specifications, preferably by meeting you at your premises. Based on this information, we contact a selection of French regions that then put together a plan for site visits and hosting proposals (potential sites, commercial real estate). We then talk with you again about the best approach to follow so we can offer you timely service that creates value.

Cost analysis

We provide:

- Better information to underpin your business plans, with up-to-date figures and data along with tailored competitive solutions;

- Facts on France’s advantages and key strengths, broken down by sector, as well as the power of its ecosystems and talent pools.

Information on reforms & business

We can provide up-to-date information on France’s key-assets and help you understand the on-going reforms and their impact on companies operating in France.

Investment opportunities

We provide the best investment opportunities.

Discover all our opportunities

Introduction to private partners

We introduce you to tax and law firms, banks and recruitment offices.

During your initial fact-finding missions in France, we can setup B2B meetings for you with public- and private-sector partners.

Liaising with public authorities

Some projects require administrative steps to follow. Our investment advisors will provide all the support you need and help you liaise with the relevant authorities, at the national or regional level.

Entrepreneur is a French word

A HIGHLY CREATIVE, INNOVATION-FRIENDLY BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

The best place in Europe for R&D tax incentives and effective corporate tax rate on R&D operations.

30% of eligible R&D expenses are tax-deductible up to €100 million, and 5% above this threshold.

Foreign companies have increased their R&D spending in France by 9% a year since 2007.

France is the leading source country of high-flying tech firms in the EMEA. (Deloitte, 2016)

France is the leading source country in Europe of institutions among the 100 most innovative organizations in the world. (Clarivate Analytics, 2016)

13 Fields Medals

France is the second leading source country of Fields Medal winners.

A Leading financial center in Europe

In 2017, France was the leading European market for venture capital, with €2.7 billion funds raised (Q1-Q3) ahead of the United Kingdom. (Dealroom, 2017)

Paris is a leading financial market place in the euro zone with more than 800,000 direct jobs and 400,000 indirect jobs in the financial industry (Paris region).

Talent, Regions and Businesses

Talent

Eighty-six percent of foreign chief executives surveyed believe that workforce education and training in France is an attractive criterion for foreign investment.

Discover French talent

Regions

With a GDP of US$2,575 billion at current prices in 2017, France is the world’s fifth largest economy after the United States, China, Japan and Germany.

Discover French regions

Businesses

France was ranked third in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Index, with an entrepreneurial environment that seeks to make life easier for entrepreneurs.

Discover France's entrepreneurial environment

Manufacture in France

France is a sure bet for manufacturing companies in every sector, from aerospace to agri-food, automotive, transport and metal processing:

- Highly competitive land and real estate

- A highly skilled, productive workforce and a continuing education system permanently funded by generous state investment

- Competitive labor costs comparable to those in Germany and Benelux: France’s competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE) boosts businesses’ competitiveness through a tax saving equivalent to 6% of total payroll costs, excluding salaries higher than 2.5 times the statutory minimum wage

- Reliable infrastructure and supply networks

- An attractive tax framework, including the world’s fifth-lowest tax rate for manufacturing companies (taking into account various tax bases, rules on depreciation, exemptions and tax credits – source: KPMG, Competitive Alternatives, 2016)

- High-quality energy production from a broad range of sources at competitive prices

- World-class service providers

- A very effective business support and investment incentives system

Establish a decision-making center

There are many benefits to choosing France as the location for a decision-making center:

- Quality real estate readily available at competitive prices: the La Défense business district on the edge of Paris is the largest in continental Europe

- Many multinationals have a presence in France: 29 of the world’s 500 leading companies are French, 28 are German and 20 are British

- France’s central location, combined with the quality and diversity of its transport infrastructure, make it a major hub for the EMEA region: Paris-Le Bourget is Europe’s number one airport for business travel, while Paris-Charles de Gaulle is Europe’s second busiest airport for passenger traffic

- A business-friendly economy: France is one of the easiest and cheapest countries in which to start a business

- A pool of productive talent and a respected system of higher education management qualifications, prized by international students. On average, French employees work longer and are more productive than their German and British counterparts, while French managers work 44.1 hours a week, compared with 42.5 in Germany and 43.3 in the United Kingdom. (Eurostat)

- Ability to hire international talent from around the world and live anywhere in France: renowned quality of life for employees and their families, tax advantages for expat executives, special visas, numerous international schools for children, a first-class healthcare system, etc

  

Tap into African markets

French exports to Africa total around €30 billion a year, and are growing fast: Africa is the destination for 6.4% of all French goods sold abroad.

These exports, generated by 40,000 businesses, put France at the top of the European leaderboard. This highly auspicious situation is further enhanced by France’s status as the leading European investor in Africa, with over a thousand French companies having set up on the continent.


France offers a wealth of advantages for companies looking to establish industrial and trading platforms to service Europe and Africa, including both French-speaking and non-French-speaking countries:


- Substantial diplomatic representation making it easy to complete business-related administrative procedures from France- African students making up a significant proportion of foreign students in France

- Similar corporate law

- Unbeatable air access between France and African countries

- Numerous bilateral tax treaties

- Operational proximity: A great many French groups are established in Africa and have in-depth knowledge of local economies and societies


Be part of the “La French Tech” movement

What country does not aspire to have entrepreneurial startup talent? France has a further sizeable key strength: it is a country of entrepreneurship and enterprise creation. The 8,000 startups set up on French soil constitute a major growth engine for the future.

Using the internationally recognized “La French Tech” accreditation, these innovative tech companies receive strong backing in France through the French government’s “National Investment Program”, substantial private- and public-sector financial support, and specialist French Tech hubs throughout the country.

The results are not hard to find: for example, 274 French startups exhibited at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2018 (with the support of Business France), while Station F, the world’s largest startup incubator, is now open in Paris, hosting a thousand fledgling companies.

In 2017, for the first time ever, France takes the lead as Europe’s top venture capital hub with €2.7 billion funds raised, vs. €2.3 billion in the UK.

To further boost France’s lead in this area, the French Tech Ticket competition attracts entrepreneurs from all over the world, offering a chance to win a tailored fast-track welcome program for both administrative and personnel issues.

     

Help build “Le Grand Paris”

The “Grand Paris” project aims to transform the Paris conurbation into a major 21st century global city, improving the lives of its residents, evening out inequalities throughout the Paris region, and building a sustainable city.


From the outset, this project has been backed by a huge transport infrastructure project – the “Grand Paris Express” – which will see 200 km (125 miles) of automated metro lines built between 2016 and 2030 to connect suburbs with each other and central Paris. Around 70 new stations will be built, transforming the urban landscape throughout Paris’s suburbs. The Paris Olympics in 2024 will only speed up these projects. “Grand Paris” offers a unique, not-to-be-missed opportunity for investors to play their part in building the Paris of the future.


In conjunction with local stakeholders and drawing on its network spanning 70 countries, Business France has been tasked by the government with promoting the various projects that make up “Grand Paris” among international investors. The aim is to contribute to their development by putting project owners in touch, where appropriate, with foreign investors.

Optimize your logistics

France’s location at the heart of Europe, and at the crossroads between the north of the continent and the Mediterranean basin, means it offers unique geographical advantages over other countries, making it the ideal base for European logistics.

- Highly competitive land and real estate: France has nearly 60 million sq. m. of warehouses larger than 5,000 sq. m. (developpement-durable.gouv.fr). In terms of setup costs, France is ranked second for industrial leasing and third for total facility investment costs (industrial land and construction). (KPMG, 2016)

- Some of the best air connections in Europe:
Paris-Charles de Gaulle is Europe’s busiest airport for cargo and its second-busiest for passengers, while Paris-Le Bourget is Europe’s leading airport for business travel

- The largest road network in Europe:
More than 1 million km (620,000 miles) of roads, including 11,600 km (7,200 miles) of motorways

- One of the best rail networks in Europe: 30,100 km (18,750 miles) of railway lines – Europe’s second-longest network – and also ranked second in Europe for high-speed rail lines – Europe’s first longest network

- Unparalleled sea access:
France has the longest coastline in Europe – 5,000 km/3,100 miles and seven major seaports; Marseille Fos is the leading port in France and the Mediterranean; HAROPA (the combined Le Havre, Rouen and Paris port authority) has been voted the world’s Best Green Seaport; and the world’s third largest cargo shipping line, CMA-CGM, is French

- Europe’s longest network of navigable waterways:
Nearly 8,500 km (5,280 miles), including 2,000 km (1,250 miles) of high-capacity waterways

Set up R&D operations

France’s R&D ecosystem offers some key advantages:

- World-class researchers and a ready supply of skilled talent

- Numerous opportunities for collaborative research with private and public research institutes, universities and companies (for example within innovation clusters, technology research institutions or Carnot institutes)

- A simple and effective research tax credit, worth 30% of annual R&D spending up to €100 million per company and 5% above this threshold

- An innovation tax credit that complements the research tax credit by allowing innovative companies to deduct 20% of their innovation expenditure (up to €400,000)

- Innovative new company (JEI) status is a special legal status that provides for reductions in tax and social security contributions for SMEs up to eight years old whose R&D costs account for at least 15% of total spending

- A wide array of financial support and advice offered by Bpifrance, France’s public investment bank

- A lower tax rate on intellectual property income: royalties and capital gains from sales of patents, for example, are subject to a lower corporate tax rate (15%)

Capitalize on the financial market

There are 1.2 million jobs in France’s financial sector, which generates €300 billion in financing and boasts more than a hundred private research centers. It is powered by a pool of financial talent that attracts over 70,000 new recruits every year. Five French banks feature in Europe’s top 10, including two of the top three: BNP Paribas (second) and Crédit Agricole (third). Among key banking clients, more major industrial companies are headquartered in Paris than in any other European city. (Paris Europlace)

This talent pool is a result of France’s highly effective higher education system, producing mathematical engineers, financial experts, managers, and people to fill many other high-skilled roles… French finance consequently enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide.

The Paris financial center is the European leader in equity markets, corporate bonds and sovereign debt. The Paris marketplace is also an unrivalled gateway for investment in the euro zone, and a pioneer in new funding channels, including private equity and crowdfunding.

France is also Europe’s second-largest insurance market and the world’s number two hub for collective investments, as well as a trailblazer in issuing ‘green bonds’.


This innovative spirit is also reflected in France’s growing number of FinTechs (currently over 750), the increasing proportion of funding denominated in Chinese yuan (20% of trade flows between France and China) and solutions provided by over a thousand researchers in finance.

Lastly, new entrants to the financial sphere will find a fast-moving, attractive and thriving real estate market in Paris that makes it easy to work with the whole of Europe every day.

Logistics

By expanding your European logistics in France, you will be able to capitalize on high-performance infrastructure, simplified administrative procedures and all the advantages of a multimodal regional hub with excellent connections worldwide.

Lying at the western tip of Europe, France is an essential gateway and preferred transit point for global exports.

France’s logistics sector boasts nearly 100,000 companies, employing over 1.8 million people and generating around €200 billion in annual revenues.

Cross-border trade for companies established in France is made easier by a national customs one-stop shop. This innovative approach helps make France the world’s best-performing economy for the length and cost of customs procedures.

A multimodal regional hub

France has proven infrastructure to facilitate trading with Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East:

  • The largest road network in Europe, with more than 1 million km (620,000 miles) of roads, including 11,400 km (7,100 miles) of motorways.
  • Five major port facilities with direct access to the Mediterranean. France has the longest coastline in Europe, spanning 5,000 km (3,100 miles).
  • Europe’s largest network of navigable waterways, totaling nearly 8,500 km (5,300 miles).
  • One of Europe’s best rail networks: the second largest network in Europe, covering 30,000 km (18,750 miles), and the second most extensive high-speed rail network.
  • Paris Charles de Gaulle is Europe’s second busiest cargo and passenger airport, while Paris Le Bourget is its number one airport for business travel.

Alongside major French specialists like GEODIS, FM Logistics and STEF, many foreign companies have expanded in France, including UPS, DHL, FEDEX, China Railway, Maersk Group, Russian Railways and Kuehne + Nagel.

Companies making recent investments that endorse France’s strengths as a base for pan-European logistics include Australian group Brambles, Belgian firm 2XL and global e-commerce leader Amazon, which opened its fifth distribution center in 2017.

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Opportunities and Benefits of Logistics in France

Optimize your supply chain at the heart of Europe

Logistics in France An overview of France's assets in Logistics

Institutional partners

Chemical Industry

The second largest chemical industry in Europe

With total revenues of €75 billion, France’s chemical industry is the second largest in Europe.

Tap into a stimulating technological environment, with five innovation clusters dedicated to your sector: Axelera, Elastopôle, IAR, Matikem and Trimatec. At the heart of this ecosystem, over 12,500 people (more than 5,500 of them researchers and engineers) work in R&D, constantly developing new products to meet the emerging needs of society.

Choose an ideal location with top-notch infrastructures

France has platforms with pooled services that can host chemical plants of all kinds. The main chemical platforms are Carling, Lyon-Feyzin, Fos-Lavera-Berre, Chemparc, Pomacle Bazencourt, Chalampé and Lamotte. France’s central location in Europe means you will be able to optimize your customers’ supplies.

All the major global leaders in the sector, such as Solvay, ChemChina, Ajinomoto, BASF, Bayer, Dow Chemical and Dupont, take advantage of France’s excellent infrastructure specifically developed for chemical manufacturers. Groups like Hexcel and ChemChina are delighted with their latest investments in France. These groups’ leaders point to the quality of public research platforms and the large number of highly skilled researchers as key factors in their decisions to expand their operations in France.

 

International mobility

We advise you on international mobility.

Do you need help with the administrative formalities required for expatriation such as visas, residence permits, information on taxation and social protection, or advice about housing, education and social activities?

If your employees are not or will no longer be European Union citizens, they will need a residence permit, authorizing them to live and work in France. Business France investment advisors will explain to you the procedures involved and will relay your requests to the public authorities quickly and efficiently.

Automotive

Invest in the french Automotive industry

France’s automotive sector has a long history of excellence. The Renault and PSA groups are among the world’s biggest car makers and motorsports suppliers.

THE LEADING EUROPEAN DESTINATION FOR JOB-CREATING FOREIGN INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENTS

THE 2ND-LARGEST CAR INDUSTRY IN EUROPE

Nearly 700,000 employees work for 5,000 companies directly or indirectly related to the automotive sector, which generates 43% of its revenues from export sales and is the number one sector in the country for patent applications.

In selecting the country that is Europe’s leading destination for foreign investment in industry, automotive sector players know they will be able to find top-tier commercial partners to grow their business and break into the markets of the future.

CARS OF THE FUTURE, MADE IN FRANCE

The French government is launching a major investment plan in the automotive sector to develop the electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicle segments.

Choose the European country offering the most generous tax treatment for research and development to launch the vehicles of the futur. 

As one of the countries that made this industry's history, France has all the cards in hand to welcome international companies ready to take up the challenges raised by vehicles of the future into the next 100 years.

Connected, smart and driverless vehicles, new engine types, vehicles that use only two liters per 100 km, new materials, safety, recycling, robotics… the list goes on!

The research tax credit offers very attractive terms to companies (30% on research and development expenditure up to €100 million, and 5% beyond that figure) and there are multiple financial incentives to develop innovation. No automotive industry in Europe files as many patents as that of France. It invests more than €5.8 billion per year in R&D.

Companies benefit from the solid innovation ecosystem, which includes four automotive-mobility excellence clusters (CARA, ID4CAR, MOV’EO, Vehicle of the Future cluster) and major public research bodies (IFP EN, IFSTTAR, CEA, Universities).

The State has supported, in particular through the Future Investments program, R&D projects in the sector to the tune of more than €650 million, for a total investment volume exceeding €2 billion supported by the automotive sector. The Government intends to extend and ramp up France's efforts in the area of innovation, maintaining a comparable level of support in the years to come and by specifically supporting disruptive innovation.

Press Kit Producing tomorrow's automobile in France

The French ambitious roadmap for tomorrow's automotive industry

CHOOSE FRANCE

France is a top leading country in Europe for electric light commercial vehicles and its number two market for hybrid vehicles. Chinese group BYD recently set up its new electric bus assembly plant in Beauvais (Hauts de France region).

Many foreign investors have already chosen France. Toyota (Japan) launched the Prius – the world’s first mass-produced full hybrid vehicle – in 1997, and the Mirai – a hybrid saloon powered by a hydrogen fuel cell – in 2014; in late January 2018, Toyota also announced a further €300 million investment in France to make a brand new vehicle, creating 700 jobs.

Other foreign manufacturers include Daimler (Germany) to make electric cars, Smart (Smart For Two Electric Drive), BYD (China) for electric buses, Bosch (Germany), Yamaha (Japan), Mitsubishi (Japan), General Motors (US), Delphi (US), Honda (Japan), BorgWarner (US) and Volkswagen (Germany).

Cleantech

Make our planet great again!

The investment required in sectors related to energy transition is among the highest in Europe, given the ambitious targets set by government policy to reduce fossil fuel consumption, increase renewable energy generation and, more generally, cut greenhouse gas emissions.

French companies leading the way in the cleantech and energy markets include Air Liquide, EDF, Engie, Saint-Gobain, Schneider Electric and Veolia.

Multinationals like General Electric, Siemens and Cisco have chosen France to set up their global resource centers in renewable energy and sustainable transport, or to take part in smart city projects.

France has longstanding experience in hydroelectric power. Hydroelectricity accounts for around 60% of renewable energy produced and 12% of all electricity generated in France.

Due to France’s 11 million square kilometers of ocean, businesses in the sector have access to one of the world’s largest potential sources of renewable marine energy. Reaching the target of 3,000 MW by 2023 will require substantial investment.

Growth in France’s wind energy sector is underpinned by the second-highest wind power potential in Europe. Following a record volume of new power connections in 2016, totaling 1,530 MW, a further 103 installations with a combined capacity of 1,019 MW had also entered service by September 2017, increasing nationwide capacity by 23%.

In September 2017, solar photovoltaic power installed in France had a total capacity of 7,686 MW, with France ranked third in Europe for annual power connections in 2016 and fourth for its solar power portfolio as a whole. A number of invitations to tender were issued in 2016 and will be ongoing until 2020.

Businesses, citizens, non-profits, government authorities, research centers and innovation clusters are all working to achieve the ambitious target that France has set for itself: 23% of renewables in its energy mix by 2020 and 32% by 2030. 

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