Ericsson’s Head of France advises Nordic investors: “Don’t hesitate and run for it!”
Ericsson is a company that needs no introduction. Indeed, the multinational is one of the largest Swedish companies, leading provider of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Europe. In 2020, Ericsson decided to expand its R&D center in Massy, France, to work on 5G and cybersecurity development. The center, located in the Paris-Saclay competitiveness cluster, already houses 120 people and will have 300 researchers by 2023. The focus is on 5G and increasingly on 6G, particularly in security, AI, automation, and private and critical networks.
The main reasons Ericsson chose France to invest in R&D
When asked why the company decided to set up and expand its R&D center in France, Franck Bouétard, told us several reasons could be mentioned. Firstly, according to Ericsson’s Head of France, “[Ericsson] believes in Europe, as a company.” Hence, one of the firm’s goals is to spread the 5G and its subsequent generations on the continent. Indeed, in several articles, the company has pointed out that “Europe suffers a 5G connectivity gap” and trails far behind North America and East Asia on the matter. According to the firm, European enterprises are penalized from this access deficit to innovative connectivity platforms. In that sense, France is considered the right location to start this change as, in Franck Bouétard’s words, the country “is economically and technologically very well advanced and has a lot of influence in Europe.” What’s more, France is a country where companies can find “solid technologic competencies as well as a vivid ecosystem of startups and strong research and development centers.” According to him, these predispositions have facilitated the company’s establishment.
The efficiency of the recent business-friendly French reforms
Over the past years, the reforms conducted in France have played a significant role in Ericson’s decision to invest in the country. Indeed, Ericsson’s Head of France underlined the efficiency of the Crédit Impôt Recherche (French Research Tax Credit), which provides support for the R&D activities to companies of all sizes and sectors. Indeed, companies can benefit from a tax credit for deducting R&D expenditures of 30% up to €100 million and 5% beyond, would it be on fundamental research, applied research, or experimental development. On top of that, the French Labour reform has been praised by Franck Bouétard as it provides more flexibility of employment to companies. Finally, the support of the French government to the startup ecosystem has also played a significant role in Ericsson’s decision.
The mutual benefits of an economic partnership between France and Sweden
According to Franck Bouétard, the two countries should exchange their best practices. Indeed, in his words, “the Swedish culture with its pragmatism, innovation, and ability to change should be a good example for the French culture.” On the other hand, “on topics like industrial policy and security Sweden could learn from France.” What’s more, the director enlightens that France is perceived in Sweden as being a large economy as well as “one of the single remaining superpowers in Europe.” In that way, Ericsson strengthens its European ties with this project. For the Head of Ericsson France, a partnership on green technology, 5G, would be beneficial to both countries: “When it comes to this new digital world, where 5G and cybersecurity are critical, the two countries have a lot to share. Sweden is strong in 5G. France in cybersecurity. If we put our assets together, we’re going to have a very compelling type of proposition on a global scale.”
Franck Bouétard’s recommendations to Nordic investors: “Don’t be afraid!”
“Don’t be afraid!”. This is the first sentence the head of Ericsson France pronounced when asked to advise fellow Nordic investors: “there has been a lot of change in recent years.” Hence, “the penetration of the French market is much easier than before.”. Although Franck Bouétard recommends using a French manager to take care of the administrative tasks, he quickly added: “but don’t come with preconceived ideas!”. Indeed, he underlined that “the French market is pretty large and pretty open,” making it a boon for investors. The head of Ericsson France then emphasized that “the support Ericsson got from Business France Nordics in the establishment of its research and development center has been very instrumental; would it be in terms of giving [the company] data on tax benefits but also to know where to find talents as well as an innovation cluster.” He warmly thanked the members of the agency for their contribution in that exercise. Lastly, Ericsson’s Head of France made a strong statement: “The Swedish investors are very well perceived, so don’t hesitate and just run for it!”.
Save the date! 28th of March 2022, 19:00 (Paris). Birgitta Finnander, Head of R & R&D Center France, will discuss why Ericsson chose France for its new center, how far they have come, where it is going, and their primary focus. Held in Paris and English, this event is organized by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in France and SWEA Professional Paris. Learn more about this conference >