The size of France's domestic market and its array of key advantages and resources means it can host all types of investments.

With more than 500 projects confirmed in 2015, Business France Invest helps attract foreign investments in a variety of sectors every year, bringing a very broad marketing mix into focus:

Contact us to find out what we can do for your company, and to obtain further information on France’s sector-based advantages and the regions with the most potential for your investments. Below is a brief list providing the key points of attraction for a selection of these sectors.

Information technology

Information technology covers a huge array of business sectors, including electronics, computers and telecommunications, as well as hardware, software and services (adtech, edtech, fintech, e-commerce, IoT, m-payment, etc.). France is uniquely positioned to host and offer premium opportunities for global IT companies given its powerful communications infrastructures, highly active innovation clusters, skilled talent pools, state aid programs, research tax credit, special “innovation new company” status, and funding solutions through Bpifrance, France’s public investment bank. 

A select list to illustrate this sector’s buoyancy in France:

  • The world’s largest digital incubator housed at Halle Freyssinet in Paris can accommodate no fewer than 1,000 innovative startups (http://1000startups.fr).
  • 2016 was the third year in a row that France sent more companies than any other European country to the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.
  • €20 billion invested in the Very High-Speed Broadband France Plan to cover the entire country in ultra-high-speed broadband by 2022.
  • “La French Tech” is an accreditation for all players in the French startup ecosystem, starting with entrepreneurs but also including communities like investors, engineers, designers, developers, large corporate groups, non-profits, the media, government agencies and research institutes (http://www.lafrenchtech.com/).

Agri-food

Agri-food is the largest industry in France, with €170 billion in sales and 440,926 employees.

It is a major business sector in every French region, and plays a key role in driving the French economy. Its diversity and expertise are the work of large world-renowned corporations and scores of SMEs (16,218 companies in all).

With a direct focus on the global economy, the French agri-food sector is the world’s fourth largest exporter, with €44.3 billion in food exports.

It is one of the most vibrant industries in France, offering a wealth of opportunities due to an excellent on-the-job training system in agri-food professions, stringent occupational health standards, and sustained efforts to promote innovation and R&D (12 innovation clusters).

Healthcare

France has a prime ecosystem for growth in the healthcare industry for a variety of reasons: universal access to care, which creates a broad field of application; a dense varied network of healthcare infrastructures; a highly effective network of skilled researchers and scholars; and a powerful pharmaceutical industry. 

All this combined makes France the leading country in the world for vaccines and Europe’s leading player in veterinary medicine. It is also ranked fifth in the world for medicinal products, medical technologies and devices, and enjoys a fine reputation in skin cosmetics, ophthalmology, cardiology, and telemedicine, among other fields. 

With over €70 billion in revenues and more than 400 production facilities (including all major pharmaceutical multinationals), France is a powerful healthcare cluster in the European Union promoting innovation and research through France’s unrivalled research tax credit. 

Every year, nearly 1,000 clinical trials are conducted in France, with two-thirds in private industry, mainly in oncology, rare diseases and infectious diseases.

It goes without saying that Business France’s experts in these sectors are here to steer you in the right direction!

Automotive

France’s automotive sector has 440,000 employees working at 3,500 companies, including vehicle-makers (passenger cars, light utility vehicles, buses, etc.), engine manufacturers, equipment makers (dashboards, transmissions, seats, etc.), car body designers and concept designers. The French automotive sector punches above its weight, as it is closely associated with a number of other activities performed by almost 3,000 additional businesses that employ 230,000 people to make products such as electronics, rubber, plastic, glass and chemicals. 

The industry makes 43% of its sales in exports, files more patents than any other sector in France, and invests heavily in R&D to consolidate its position in every aspect of the trade, from connected/smart/self-driving vehicles, new engines and 2-liter/100 km vehicles, to new materials, safety, recycling and the ‘Plant of the Future’. 

From startups to large corporates, private and public labs, government authorities and automotive innovation clusters, players throughout the entire industry are catalysts for innovation and creativity, and generators of value and growth through collaborative R&D projects involving 1,000 industry members.

Mechanical industries

There are 30,200 companies in the mechanical industries sector, operating in a broad range of trades and markets that offer many opportunities for foreign investors. 

With €121.8 billion in turnover (including €48.3 billion for export) and 629,000 jobs, France is ranked sixth in the world and third in Europe. 

This extremely diverse industry has a number of different application focuses, including automotive, aerospace, energy, construction, transport, electronics, agri-food, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals, among others. 

The growing number of pioneering startups is evidence of this sector’s buoyancy and the continuous modernization of all businesses, supported by a range of government programs (i.e. Plant of the Future).

Logistics

A highly globalized, powerful and vibrant sector.

France’s at the heart of the European continent and the crossroads between northern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin offers it a geographical comparative advantage, making it a natural choice for a key role in European logistics. As a result, the French logistics sector has an annual turnover of €200 billion, employing more than 1.8 million people at nearly 100,000 companies. 

  • Some of the best air connections in Europe: Paris-Charles de Gaulle is the second busiest cargo and passenger airport and Paris-Le Bourget is Europe’s leading business airport.
  • Europe’s most extensive roads: Over 1 million km (620,000 miles) of roads with close to 11,500 km (7,150 miles) of motorways.
  • One of the best rail networks in Europe: 30,000 km of railway lines (second largest in Europe) and Europe’s second largest high-speed rail network.
  • Unparalleled access by sea: The largest coastline in Europe – 5,000 km (3,100 miles) – and seven major ports. Marseille Fos Port is the largest in France and the Mediterranean, while HAROPA (Le Havre, Rouen and Paris) was voted the world’s Best Green Seaport in 2015. The world’s third largest owner of cargo ships, CMA-CGM, is French.
  • Europe’s largest network of navigable waterways with nearly 8,500 km (5,280 miles), including 2,000 km (1,250 miles) of high-capacity waterways.

Chemicals

With €75 billion in sales and some 157,000 jobs at 3,345 companies, France’s chemical industry is the sixth largest in the world, and the second largest in Europe after Germany.

The chemical sector supplies substances and materials to a number of other industrial activities, including, for example, carbon fiber to the polymer plastics and aerospace industries.

Innovation is a determining factor, which is why 12,558 people work on R&D in this sector undergoing constant developments toward new processes and products that can provide solutions for the great challenges facing society, such as climate change and sustainable development.

France also has dedicated platforms for setting up all sorts of chemical plants that are accustomed to special process management in the sector and where most current utilities can be pooled.

Energy and clean tech companies

France was Europe’s third largest renewable energy producer in 2015, generating 91 TWh of electricity from renewable sources.

France is also Europe’s second largest producer of hydroelectricity, and has some of the biggest potential for renewable marine energy production in the world, with 11 million sq. km. of ocean. The turbine industry owes its growth to Europe’s second largest wind source: some 500 new turbines go online every year as France moves towards reaching a target of 19,000 MW of installed land turbines by 2020. Europe’s largest solar power plant was installed in France in late 2015, and the country is also extremely well positioned in the biomass sector – as Europe’s second largest wood energy producer – as well as the geothermal and solar heating industries.

France is a leader in renewable energies as a result of an active R&D effort and the expertise of players up and down the value chain working in development, engineering, manufacturing, installation, operations and maintenance, among others.

Businesses, workers, non-profits, public authorities, research centers and innovation clusters are all motivated to achieve the ambitious goals that France has set for itself, which include 23% renewables in its energy mix in 2020 and 32% by 2030.

Aerospace

France offers a rich ecosystem for the aerospace industry, boasting 4,500 companies offering a wide range of products (planes, helicopters, engines, rocket launchers, satellites, equipment and systems, drones, etc.), innovation clusters, public and private research centers, and specialist training institutions. 

The sector posts some €50 billion in annual sales, two-thirds of which is produced for export. This vibrant industry has created several thousands of jobs in recent years, with 350,000 employees, a majority of whom work in highly skilled jobs. 

Nearly 15% of turnover is invested in R&D for innovations, including lighter materials, engine efficiency, improved aerodynamics and new equipment. 

The Paris Air Show at Le Bourget is the world’s largest trade show for the aerospace sector.

Tourism and hotels

France is the world’s most popular destination for foreign tourists, who come for its unmatched attractions, rich heritage, diverse cultures, wide selection of landscapes, excellent transport system, and top-quality accommodation. The tourism sector generates total sales of approximately €150 billion. 

Paris is a leading global tourist destination. The Louvre is the most visited museum in the world. Disneyland® Paris is the most popular tourist destination in Europe. Tourists also flock to places like Versailles, the Eiffel Tower and Mont-Saint-Michel. 

France has a total of 17,000 hotels and 615,000 rooms. French hotel operator Accor is ranked first among Europe’s largest hotel groups, while the Bristol Paris has been voted the ‘best hotel in the world’. 

France also tops the rankings for hosting business, culture and sports events, trade shows and conventions. 

Foreign investors have recently made a number of large investments, confirming the opportunities and continued potential that France offers business in the tourism and hotel sector.