Business France in partnership with the Directorate General of the Treasury (DG Trésor) just released the 10th edition of the French Attractiveness Scoreboard. This Scoreboard presents France more attractive than ever to foreign investors, thanks to its structural assets, its pro-business climate and entrepreneurial dynamic and its progress on the path of a carbon-free economy. Here is a selection of the main outcomes...
Numerous structural strengths make France attractive
France's attractiveness can be partially explained by its structural strengths. France has excellent transport, telecommunication and energy infrastructures. Indeed, its airports and the rail network offer fast and efficient connections with the whole world. In addition, electricity prices are among the most competitive in Europe.
France's administrative and regulatory environments tend to be an advantage thanks to their recent modernizations. France ranks fifth in Europe for e-administration and ranks second in the world for online public services, catching up with its Nordic neighbours always at the top of this ranking.
France the most attractive country in continental Europe for R&D
In 2018, France became the most attractive country in continental Europe. If France has been for over fifteen years the leading European country for hosting industrial projects, it also became the EU country with the highest amount of investment in production and R&D activities. France hosts one quarter of projects identified in Europe in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology, agri-food and R&D sectors. Furthermore, foreign companies in France represent 25% of business R&D expenditure and 31% of French exports. France’s attractiveness in the R&D sector can be explained by the public R&D funding. Indeed, the French research tax credit is one of the most attractive in the world.
A pro-business climate and an entrepreneurial dynamic attract foreign investors
The pro-business climate in France and the entrepreneurial dynamic also attracts foreign investors. There were nearly 200,000 new business creations in 2017 (+5%), while the business exit rate is one of the lowest in the European countries.
Corporate finance is also improving, with France ranked second in terms of venture capital, after the United Kingdom. There has been an increase in the number of important fundraising rounds. Indeed, in a year the video game start-up Voodoo, the French unicorn Doctolib, and the flagship agritech business Ynsect have raised €172 million, €150 million and €110 million, respectively.
Read more: France to boost its start-up nation status
France, the new start-up Nation, is also attractive to foreign entrepreneurs. Indeed, it is one of the European countries with the largest number of incubators and accelerators with more than 600 structures, a 12.5% increase in incubators and a 12% increase in accelerators in 2018. The largest incubator in the world, Station F, located in the heart of Paris and hosting 1000 start-ups offers more than 30 international acceleration programs for foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
Progress on the path of a carbon-free economy
France is Europe’s second largest producer of primary energy from renewable energies. The renewable energies’ contribution to final energy consumption is higher than that of Germany and the United Kingdom. Electricity, largely of nuclear origin, is particularly low carbon. The greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 46% in the industry between 1990 and 2016. France is therefore well on track to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 set by the climate plan.
Read more: Make our Planet Great Again initiative
To conclude, France attractiveness and its corporate image has recently improved, especially in the last two years. Indeed, the Kantar Public study published in January 2019 confirms the great confidence of foreign entrepreneurs in the French economy: 88% consider it attractive, 4 points more than in 2017, and 61% believe that its attractiveness has improved over the last two years.