Sectors and business opportunities
Select a key industry and discover France's huge array of opportunities
- Food Industry
- Information Technologies
- Financial Services
- Chemical Industry
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Choose the European country offering the most generous tax treatment for research and development to launch the vehicles of the future: 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 Moveo, Véhicule du futur, iD4CAR and LUTB innovation clusters are ideal ecosystems for harnessing this momentum.
In 2017, France was Europe’s leading market 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).
Join them by choosing France.
Set up a production facility in France
Innovate in France
Invest in Robotics
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Opportunities and Benefits of Logistics in France
Optimize your supply chain at the heart of Europe
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.
Benefits and Opportunities in France
Chemical Parks in France
Infrastructures and resources for your competitiveness