France is one of the most open countries to international investment

Some 20,000 subsidiaries of multinationals operating in France are the embodiment of France’s longstanding openness to foreign investment. An average of 19 foreign companies invest in France every week.

Foreign subsidiaries:

  • Provide jobs for 13% of the workforce in France (nearly one-quarter in the manufacturing sector).
  • Generate 19% of all turnover in the French economy (29% in manufacturing).
  • Produce 32% of French exports.
  • Carry out 28% of all business enterprise R&D expenditure in France.

Foreign residents also own around 50% of the equity of companies listed on the Paris stock market.

Contact us and we’ll show you all the advantages France has to offer for a range of international and European investment strategies:

European headquarters and decision-making centers

There are numerous benefits to choosing France for your headquarters and decision-making centers:

  • Ideal location at the heart of the European continent and the crossroads between northern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.
  • Excellent infrastructure and frequent links to EMEA countries (Paris-Le Bourget is Europe’s leading business airport and Paris-Charles de Gaulle is the second busiest passenger airport in Europe).

  • Quality real estate readily available at competitive prices.
  • Ability to hire and obtain residency for international executives from around the world. Renowned quality of life for employees and their families, an array of international schools for their children, first-class healthcare system, tax advantages for expat executives, special visas, etc.
  • Large number of multinationals already operating in France: 31 of the world’s top 500 companies are French, 28 are German and 28 are British).

  • The La Défense business district on the edge of Paris is the largest in continental Europe.
  • A highly attractive R&D ecosystem.

Research & Development

France’s R&D ecosystem offers a number of key advantages:

  • World-class researchers and readily available skilled workforce.
  • Countless opportunities in collaborative research at private and public research institutes, universities and companies, particularly in innovation clusters.
  • A simple, highly effective research tax credit, covering 30% of annual R&D spending up to €100 million per company, and 5% above this threshold.
  • A special legal status for innovative new companies (JEIs).
  • A wide array of financial and consulting services from Bpifrance, France’s public investment bank.

Not only can France’s attractiveness for R&D operations be seen in international rankings, but also by the hundreds of foreign companies that have chosen France for their R&D centers in the last decade. In 2015, 28% of business enterprise R&D spending was made by foreign subsidiaries operating in France.

• France: An industry and trade hub between Europe and Africa (French-speaking and non-French-speaking)

France is a leading economic and development partner, with recognized expertise in Africa.
France is a genuine hub for transportation and logistics to the African continent.
France provides a solid, attractive and well-connected legal/tax framework for investing in Africa.
Paris is a nerve center for scores of multinationals building their strategies for the continent.
France is a strategic investor in and for Africa.
France has a common political agenda with its African partners.
Franco-African relations are known for being cordial.

Logistics 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 set of 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.

Manufacturing sector

France is a major industrial nation. Every year, it continues to be the leading recipient of industrial investments in Europe.

France is a sure bet for companies in any manufacturing sector, from aerospace, agri-food and automotive industries to transport and metals:

  • Leading energy generation capacity from a variety of sources at competitive prices
  • Reliable supply infrastructures and networks.
  • Comparable costs to Germany and Benelux.
  • Qualified workforce and a job training system regularly funded by generous public investments.
  • World-class service providers.
  • Excellent local support programs through over 70 sector-based innovation clusters bringing together R&D. higher learning institutions and businesses.
  • Highly competitive land and real-estate resources.
  • An innovative support and investment grant system.

Financial sector

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 growing by more than 70,000 new recruits every year. Four French banks are ranked among the top 10 in Europe and more major industrial companies are headquartered in Paris than in any other European city (Paris Europlace).

France’s superb higher education system is responsible for generating this talent pool of engineers, mathematicians, financial experts and managers. French finance has an excellent reputation throughout the world.

The Paris financial marketplace leads the way in Europe in equities, corporate bonds and financing sovereign debts. It is also a gateway to euro zone investments, and a pioneer in financial innovation, including private equity and crowdfunding.

France is also Europe’s second largest insurance market and the world’s second largest center for collective management, as well as a trailblazer in issuing ‘green’ bonds.

This innovative spirit can also be seen in France’s growing number of FinTech companies (currently over 750), an increasing share of funding in the Chinese yuan (20% of French-Chinese trade flows) and solutions provided by over 1,000 researchers in finance.

New entrants in the financial world will also find an attractive, thriving, value-creating real-estate market in Paris, with daily dealings with the rest of Europe.


No country today aspires to be without entrepreneurial startup talent. Another of France’s key advantages is that it is a country brimming with entrepreneurship and business creation, with some 8,000 startups ready to power its growth into the future.

Innovative tech companies are collectively part of the “La French Tech” initiative, which enjoys international recognition and solid financial backing in France through the “National Investment Program”, large grants from private and public investors, and specialist host organizations throughout the country. In 2015, Paris outpaced all other European cities for raising seed capital.

A few compelling examples: In 2016, 200 French startups attended CES Las Vegas (with support from Business France) while Halle Freyssinet, the world’s largest startup incubator opened in Paris with 1,000 fledgling companies! With nearly €2 billion raised in 2015, France remained second in the European venture capital market by transaction numbers, after the United Kingdom but ahead of Germany. (EY, France Venture Capital Survey, 2015).

In an effort to further boost France’s startup prowess, the French Tech Ticket competition offers entrepreneurs a chance every year to win access to a tailored fast-track welcome program.

The Grand Paris Project: A comprehensive European development program showcasing France’s future vision

Paris is not a business sector in itself, it is a global city that is modernizing as well as reshaping the future along with its urban landscape. Its central element is a massive transport project improving conditions for the six million inhabitants of Greater Paris who use its public transport system every day. It is achieving this by redesigning inter-regional connections, forecasting how the city will grow and change, while also incorporating the digital revolution. For investors, the project offers abundant opportunities integrating funding requirements for new and improved infrastructure, novel real estate, and growth drivers over the next 20 years.

Business France is playing a leading role as this major project gets underway, and can put you in touch with the opportunities being created right now.