Business Opportunities in France

A leading world economy

France is the 6th largest economy in the world with an estimated GDP of USD 2.465 billion (World Bank, 2017), an increase of 1.5% compared to 2014.

Major market potential : France has a population of more than 66 million with strong purchasing power. Its strategic location at the heart of the European Union, the world's largest market, offers direct access to nearly 500 million consumers. A consumption that follows the increasing trend in purchasing power.

France is also the world's number-one tourist destination, with between 84 to 85 million visitors in 2016 (

France is also part of the European union, which accounts for 23.8% of the world GDP.

A Strong, Diversified Economy, Global Companies

France has a strong, diversified industrial base, powered notably by:

  1. The agri-food, which represents the first French industrial sector and the fourth exporting country worldwide.
  2. A strong competitiveness
  3. The world leader in vaccine, the European leader in the veterinary field and the fifth rank in the medicine market, medical technologies and devices.
  4. The mechanical industries are ranked at the 6th place globally.
  5. In terms of renewable energies productions, France is at the top
  6. One of the largest pharmaceutical, aerospace, nuclear sectors

France has any number of key structural advantages : a large domestic market, strong demographics, a strategic location serving as a springboard for exports to EMEA markets, world-renowned quality of life, first-class transport and communication infrastructure, genuine industrial power and university alliances of international repute.


Low Business set-up costs

According to KPMG (2014), the average costs per employee (wages, salaries and statutory costs) are lower in France than in Japan, the United States and Germany. Similarly, business set-up and operating costs are lower in France than in Italy, Japan, the United States and Germany.
What is more, the competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE) in France is reducing labor costs by 6% in 2015, amounting to €20 billion in annual savings for companies.

Open for Business with foreign investors

According to UNCTAD, France was the third leading recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the world in 2016, receiving USD 30 billion of FDI inflows, bettered only by the United States and China/Hong Kong. As such, France remains the leading FDI destination in Europe ahead of Belgium, UK, Germany and Italy.

  • France is one of the countries the most open to international investment. The high number of subsidiaries - more than 20,000 - testimonies of the French openness to foreign investments. It is considered that, in average, 19 foreign companies invest in France per week. (Business FR)
  • France continues to attract foreign investments in strategic activities: 25% of these projects in 2016 were in production/manufacturing, while 10% were in R&D, engineering and design. For the last 10 years, France has been Europe's leading recipient of foreign investment in industry.
  • Over 24,000 foreign companies already profiting from doing business in France: they employ over 3 million people and account for 25% of all corporate R&D in France, one-third of all French exports and 44% of holdings in the market capitalization of CAC 40 companies (amounting to €51.7 billion). Sources : ORBIS, 2010, IFA; France Attractiveness Scoreboard, 2016
  • Paris is the 3rd most popular location in Europe for foreign financial firms (500 banks and financial institutions). Source : Business France
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