International Investors Still Betting On France

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International Investors Still Betting On France Despite Challenging Economic And Public Health Context

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Business France’s 2020 “Foreign Investments in France Annual Report” confirms last year’s trend: international investors see France as a promising location for their international development.

Foreign Investors' Trust In France

2020 could have proven to be a difficult year for international investments in France, yet the country was a fertile ground for new projects: some 1,215 investment projects were set up, creating or maintaining 34,567 jobs (-17% projects compared to 2019, with Europe at -19%). Among these projects, 52% were new setups, 504 projects extended existing structures and 74 projects were acquisitions; a testimony to foreign investors’ trust in France's capacity to perform even in the toughest conditions.

In a year marked by a public health crisis, production (308) represented a fourth of all international investments, followed by decision centers (274) and points of sale (163). Of particular note: the healthcare industry recorded a 40% hike in investment projects – renewable energies also saw an explosive growth, at +13%. As stay-at-home orders became widespread, R&D projects marked a slight decline (-7%, representing 12% of all projects in 2020).

Europe leading the way, America continues to be the #1 investor

Europe remains the leading source of investments projects (64%), followed by North America (20%) and Asia (10%). The United States alone represented 17% of all projects last year. A large majority of investment decisions are made in smaller cities or towns: although Paris attracted 19% of all projects from 2014-20, 41% of investments were made in 20,000 smaller municipalities. Urban regions also attracted investors: whether around Paris, Lyon, Aix-Marseille-Provence, Toulouse, or Lille, 38% of investments were located in greater metropolitan areas.

Two hundred and four American investment projects were recorded in France in 2020, creating or maintaining over 8200 jobs in the country. These numbers confirm the rising trend of the last few years, as the United States remains the number 1 investor in France. In 2020, France was one of the leading European recipients of American investments, attracting 18% of all projects, right behind the United Kingdom (21%), but ahead of Germany (13%). From start-ups to international groups, there are over 4400 American companies operating in France, employing 400,000 people.

What attracts American investors to France?

The numbers seem to point towards its production capacity, R&D and its central location in Europe. Out of all 204 projects recorded in 2020, manufacturing projects accounted for 24%, followed by decision-making centers (22%), business services (18%) and R&D/engineering projects (18%). As for the industries that attract the most investments, IT services are a clear front-runner (25% of all projects), ahead of consulting & business services (13%). The United States also made up a fourth of all R&D investment projects in the country, totalling €1.7B overall (+6% compared to 2019), making it the number 1 R&D investor in France.

Read more about the report here:

About Business France:

Business France is the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses, as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France. It promotes France’s companies, business image and nationwide attractiveness as an investment location, and also runs the VIE international internship program. Business France has 1,500 personnel, both in France and in 58 countries throughout the world, who work with a network of partners. For further information, please visit:  @businessfrance