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France Scores Big Investment Wins !

New Insight
21 January 2020


France attractiveness to foreigners is holding up well

Despite a year of headlines of social movements and strikes, French President Emmanuel Macron was able to announce very positive news on the economic front. For a third year in a row, his efforts to lure foreign investors to France show that France is still attractive, and in fact increasingly so !

An announcement on Sunday evening  at the Elysée Palace, just ahead of the third “Choose France” summit  revealed plans for nearly 4 billion euros from major foreign groups will be newly invested in France.

And for the third year in a row, Emmanuel Macron pulled-out all the stops to attract foreign investors. Strategically placed just before the Davos International Economic Forum, and again using the glamour of the Palace of Versailles…. And all in French-style pomp and circumstance,


« Choose France” expo, is now the obligatory stop for the economic elite before heading to Davos in Switzerland ».

What’s included for the 200 CEOs of international groups at the « Choose France » expo ?

  • lunch with the Prime Minister,
  • meet about 20 ministers in the afternoon
  • dinner with the President of the Republic

At the end of the meeting, is the confirmation of some fifteen investment projects, a number  which has increased over last year.

As President Macron statement said ” Health, transport, banking, agri-food, telecoms, digital? There are announcements in all territories, in all sectors and for all types of jobs (…) “

High profile Investment projects on the rise in 2019

  • The pharmaceutical laboratory AstraZeneca, commits to invest $500 million over five years, notably in Dunkirk.
  • The Italian-Swiss cruise ship owner MSC confirms the order with Chantiers de l’Atlantique for several cruise ships and commit to the production of sailing prototypes, total of 6 billion.
  • Google will greatly increase its French workforce between now and 2022.
  • Netflix will acquire a new French headquarters,
  • Ericsson will open a French R&D center with 300 jobs.

“According to our first census, which remains to be refined, the number of foreign investment project intentions in 2019 is higher than in 2018,” explains Christophe Lecourtier, CEO of Business France, the organization in charge of the country’s attractiveness.

Have  Brexit and Germany’s difficulties played a part in this ?

Absolutely a part, but not the whole picture by any means.

“The increase in France’s market share for foreign investment in Europe is directly linked to the loss of attractiveness of Great Britain and the difficulties in recruiting in Germany,” says Marc Lhermitte, partner at EY, in charge of attractiveness issues.

“The question that foreign investors are asking vis-à-vis the United Kingdom is whether or not they will have access to the single market in the future,” explains Christophe Lecourtier. In this sense, Brexit remains a factor in why investors choose to leave the U.K.

However, the decision to relocate to France also has to do with its social and technological environment and its high level of human resources available there.  And importantly in a global economy, the ability to attract those resources. France has consistently scored high in these areas.

France’s good technical infrastructure and high quality human resources, combined with the current government’s ongoing commitment to creating a more competitive and business friendly enviroment for investors, increasingly places France in a positive light with foreign investors.

« Choose France » is working.


Didier Hémion
Partner Accountant
International Business Services Department

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