In 2010, the Invest in France Agency (IFA) and its regional partners recorded and cross-checked 782 job-creating foreign investment decisions in France.
For the same year, Ernst & Young’s “European Investment Monitor” listed 30% fewer projects in France, while the “fDi Markets” database counted fewer than 300. The reasons behind these statistical disparities lie in methodological differences and sector classifications, as well as the inherent difficulty of compiling such surveys.
This being so, where exactly does France stand in Europe? The first half of 2011 has provided several interesting clues.
France’s image abroad
In January, a survey conducted by the IFA with foreign company directors and decision-makers confirmed two key points: the Agency’s 2010 “France. Expert More” promotional campaign in leading emerging economies has borne fruit, particularly in India and China, where France is now widely perceived as a country “on the move”, attractive to investment, innovative, and forward-looking.
However, this survey also showed that Germany and the United Kingdom also enjoy a strong business image in these countries, which is another good reason not to let up in the promotion of France’s investment attractiveness.
Projects and investment attractiveness
In March 2011, the “Strategic Attractiveness Council”, chaired by the President of France, coincided with the announcement of growth in job-creating foreign investment in France last year, after three years of sluggishness following the global economic crisis.
The number of projects rose by 22% in 2010. On average, 15 foreign investment decisions were made in France every week. The trend of foreign investment in R&D centers and European headquarters remained buoyant. We can therefore conclude that the decisive advantages of doing business in France are now widely recognized abroad.
Last month saw the publication of Ernst & Young’s “European Investment Monitor”, in which France remained the second largest recipient after the United Kingdom of job-creating foreign investment projects in 2010. France also remains the leading destination in Europe for foreign investment in industry, but in the overall standings, Germany is hard on France’s heels in the top three; as such, we should bear in mind that the intense competition between European rivals is unlikely to diminish.
We can look forward to the publication in July of the IFA’s “France Attractiveness Scoreboard 2011”, which will provide a chance to examine more closely France’s standing in Europe according to a complete range of investment attractiveness factors.
David Appia Chairman and CEO, The Invest in France Agency