Pourquoi choisir la France

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France is open to FDI

Foreign investors are welcome to France

Over 28,000 foreign companies are doing business in France, employing more 1,8 million people (France Attractiveness Scoreboard 2018). Nordic companies employ about 150,000 people in France:

  • 95,000 in Swedish companies,
  • 40,000 in Danish companies,
  • 15,000 in Finnish companies
  • 4,500 in Norwegian companies.

The contribution of foreign companies to the French economy represents 16% of value added, 21% of the workforce in industry and 30% of all French export.

France has the 11th highest cumulative FDI stock in the world (UNCTAD, 2018), and the 5th highest in Europe. Here the ranking of Nordic FDI in France (Banque de France, 31/12/2017):

  • Finland is the 10th investor, with €17,9 billion FDI stock,
  • Sweden is the 13th investor, with €6,3 billion FDI stock,
  • Denmark is the 14th investor, with €6,1 billion FDI stock,
  • Norway is the 21st investor, with €2,5 billion FDI stock.

In 2017, France was Europe’s 3rd leading recipient of job creating foreign investments, attracting 1,298 FDI projects, up 16% from the previous year:

  • Sweden: 44 projects created or saved 825 jobs,
  • Denmark: 15 projects created or saved 224 jobs,
  • Finland: 10 projects created or saved 284 jobs,
  • Norway: 5 projects created or saved 93 jobs

France has been Europe’s leading destination for industrial investment for more than 15 years (EY) by project numbers. There were 343 investments in industrial activities in 2017, representing 26% of all investments. The number of jobs generated by production/manufacturing investments grew sharply (+44%). For example, the Swedish Volvo Group announced several expansions in 2017 at production sites in France, creating more than 160 jobs in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region.

A global economic market

France is the 7th largest economy in the world and the world’s 7th largest foreign investor.

France is the 2nd largest consumer market in Europe, with more than 66 million inhabitants.

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. More major industrial companies are headquartered in Paris than in any other European city. (Paris Europlace).

A competitive business environment improved by reforms

Growth in labor costs has been firmly under control in France since 2013, notably in industry, thanks to the introduction of the competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE) and the responsibility pact

The labor costs in industry may remain relatively high compared to the main euro zone countries, at €38.80 in 2017. Even though It is higher than the euro zone average (€33.40), Italy (€27.80) and Spain (€23.30), but it remains lower than Germany (€40.20), Sweden (€41.90) and Belgium (€44.80).

France innovates

Entrepreneur is a french word

France is a “Startup Nation” with no fewer than 12,000 startups and the world’s largest startup incubator, Station F, which can host 1,000 startups in Paris.

Enterprise creation is particularly strong in France with 1,000-1,500 startups created every year.

France is the next big thing (John Chambers) with a buoyant tech system (La French Tech) and

France is attracting foreign VCs, welcoming more foreign startups and mobilizing a network of startup ecosystems through “La French Tech” initiative, the “French Tech Ticket” (a welcome pack for foreign entrepreneurs) of the French Tech Visa. There are more than 10,000 startups gathered under this label, including in the Nordic countries with La French Tech Nordics.

Venture capital is a key strength for France, ranked second among the countries in our sample: venture capital investment amounted to 0.045% of GDP in 2016, more than in the UK (0.031%) and in Germany (0.025%). (tdb 2018)

In the first three quarters of 2018, France was ranked third in the sample in terms of amounts raised (United Kingdom €5.1 billion, Germany €3.1 billion, France €2.8 billion), and second for the number of transactions (United Kingdom 588, France 431, Sweden 246, Germany 216). (tdb 2018)

In 2018, France was the 2nd most represented country in the world at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with 320 startups. In 2016, the French startup CybelAngel won the pitch 100 session at Slush in Helsinki.

France is home to several unicorns, such as Criteo or BlaBlaCar.

A leading financial centre in europe

Paris is a leading financial market place in the Euro zone. With over 800,000 direct jobs and 400,000 indirect jobs, France’s financial industry accounts for over 4% of French GDP and is the 3rd largest sector by employment in Ile-de-France (Paris region).

Furthermore, the French model of universal banking, bringing together a wide range of jobs within the same institution, has proven its worth. France is home to four of the 10 largest players in Europe. (European Banking Authority – TdB 2018)

According to the Banque de France’s quarterly corporate bank lending survey for the second quarter of 2018, bank lending to SMEs has remained strong, and has been improving for micro-enterprises. 87% of SMEs obtained all or most of the cash advances they applied for in the second quarter of 2018. Seventy-three percent of micro-enterprises were granted the funds they sought, the highest level recorded since the end of 2014.

France was ranked 4th in Europe in 2017 for asset management – after Luxembourg, Ireland and Germany – with a market share of 12.3% for net assets managed by investment

In 2017, France was the 3rd European market for venture capital, with €2,6 billion funds raised (Dealroom, 2017).

Lead the battle against climate change

France was Europe’s second-largest generator of primary energy derived from renewable sources in 2016, accounting for 11.3% of the EU-28 total, the same level as Italy. The top contributor was Germany, which accounted for 18.7% of the total. (tdb 2018)

France, like Sweden, makes little use of fossil fuels. Only 10.6% of France’s electricity is produced from fossil fuels. This distinctive feature of France is due to the predominance of nuclear energy (71.5% of the total) – a reliable source of energy that gives rise to no CO2 emissions.

Green growth brings with it economic opportunity and provides jobs in green energies. According to EurObserv’ER, France was Europe’s third-largest employer in the renewable energy sector in 2016, with 143,100 jobs (0.5% of its working population).

Following the announcement of the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement (COP 21), President Emmanuel Macron announced the launching of the platform Make Our Planet Great Again, to bring together researchers, associations, entrepreneurs and NGOs looking to work to combat climate change. The application website has already received more than 250 submissions.

The “One Planet Summit” has taken place in Paris on December 2017 to celebrate the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement. In the presence of President Emmanuel Macron, Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank, and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN, the aim of the summit was to step up the fight against climate change by assembling together key players in government and the financial sector.

Home for talents

France welcomes foreign talents 

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

1,6 million scientists and engineers and 44% of 25- to 34-years old have a tertiary education qualification, compared to 30,5% in Germany and 25,6% in Italy. (OECD, Education at a Glance, 2017)

Some of the best business schools in the world. 3 of the 6 best establishments offering Master’s courses in management are French. (FT 2017)

New and innovative players such as 42, a coding school in Paris that trains 900 developers per year.

France is the 4th most popular destination for students after the US and the UK, with 309,600 foreign nationals enrolled in higher education. (UNESCO, Atlas Project, 2016)

France stands out for its very high proportion of international students in advanced research programs2: 40% of PhD students are from overseas. Conversely, in Germany, only 9% of PhD students are foreign. (tdb 2018)

France is home to 13 Nobel prizes in physics, 8 in chemistry and 13 in medicine, as well as 13 Fields Medals which makes it the second leading source country of Fields Medals winners.

Easy access to a large pool of talents

Foreign talents enjoy streamlined immigration formalities, a customized residence permit & working permit scheme (up to 4 years on a renewable basis) so-called “Passeport Talent”.

Foreign talents benefit from a free on-line dedicated service operated by Business France that helps them to settle in (Welcometofrance.com).

Expatriates enjoy a tailor-made tax regime, applicable for 8 years, offering an income tax exemption from 30 to 50% of the global remuneration.

France offers a wide offer of private and public international schools (478 international programs in 284 schools and educational establishments).

Personal taxation will be lowered through a reduction of investment income (interest, dividends, capital gains on security) with a capped single flat rate of 30%.

Nordic investment

Danish investment

Danish direct investment amounted €6,1 billion in 2018, which puts Denmark in 14th place in terms of FDI stock in France (Banque de France).

There are over 350 Danish companies operating in France, where they employ nearly 40,000 people. Denmark is responsible for 13% of all projects in France in 2018. Moreover, the leading Nordic employer in France is Danish: ISS, a major player in the business and community services market, which employs 24,500 people.

16 Danish investment decisions were recorded in France in 2018, creating more than 200 jobs. Half of these Danish investments were in the software/IT services and the furnishings/household goods sector. Danish companies hire 11% of all people working on the furnishing/household goods sector in France.

In 2018, France was the second European recipient of job-creating investment from Denmark, attracting 19% of Danish projects in Europe, behind the United Kingdom (29%), and before Germany (14%).

On a broader scale, trade with Denmark has created a commercial surplus of €70 million in 2018. 25% of French exports to the Nordic zone go to Denmark, while 18.1% of French imports from the zone come from Denmark (DG Trésor, Quinzaine Nordique nr. 170).

Finnish investment

Finland’s direct investment amounted €17,9 billion in 2018, which puts Finland in 10th place in terms of FDI stock in France (Banque de France). 

There are over 130 Finnish companies operating in France, where they employ nearly 15,000 people. Nokia is responsible of 35% of the jobs created by Finnish companies in France. 

6 investments from Finland were recorded in 2018, creating or maintaining 560 jobs. These investments mainly involved new decision-making centers (66%). 

In 2018, France was the joint leading European recipient of job-creating investment from Finland, attracting 16% of Finnish projects in Europe, alongside Sweden but ahead of Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom. 

In overall, 15.1% of French exports to the Nordic zone went to Finland, while 16.2% of French imports from the zone came from Finland in 2018 (DG Trésor, Quinzaine Nordique nr. 170). 

Norwegian investment

Norway’s direct investment amounted €2,5 billion in 2018, which puts Norway in 20th place in terms of FDI stock in France (Banque de France).

There are more than 100 Norwegian companies operating in France, where they employ around 5,400 people. 

Norway has large groups in France, including five large companies with more than 300 employees. The two companies Norsk Hydro and Marine Harvest alone account for 56% of jobs created by Norwegian companies.

6 investments from Norway were recorded in 2018, creating 180 jobs in France. This represents a rise of 94% from 2017. Half of these investments were new decision-making centres.

83% of jobs created in France by Norwegian companies were in the software/IT services sector. In 2018, France was the third leading European recipient of Norwegian job-creating investments in Europe (10%), preceded by the United Kingdom (24%) and Germany (17%).

During the year 2018, 16% of French exports to the Nordic zone have gone to Norway, while 23.3% of French imports from the zone have come from Norway (DG Trésor, Quinzaine Nordique nr. 170).

Swedish investment

Swedish direct investment amounted €6,3 billion in 2018, which puts Sweden at the 13th place in terms of FDI stock in France (Banque de France).

31 Swedish investments were recorded in 2018, creating or maintaining 678 jobs. Nearly half of these investments concerned 3 sectors: software/IT (19% of projects), machinery/mechanical equipment (16%) and pharmaceuticals/biotechnologies (10%).

Nonetheless, Swedish groups operate in a wide variety of sectors in France, from industry to services, including commerce, automotive, and telecoms.

There are over 470 Swedish companies operating in France, where they employ around 95,000 people. In 2018, France was the leading European recipient of job-creating investment from Sweden, attracting 24% of Swedish projects in Europe, ahead of Germany (15%) and United Kingdom (14%).

During the year 2018, 43.2% of French exports to the Nordic zone went to Sweden, while 40.6% of French imports from the zone came from Sweden. Sweden is the largest commercial partner of France in the Nordic zone (DG Trésor, Quinzaine Nordique nr. 170).