On July 12, 2012, the Invest in France Agency had the honor of hosting the latest meeting of the Indian Investors Club, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry France-India (CCIFI) and with the support of the Indian Embassy in France. The director of the IFA’s India Office, Dominique Frachon, was also in attendance.
“At present, there are around a hundred Indian companies doing business in France, employing over 6,000 people” explained David Appia during his opening address. Indian companies have a major presence in new technologies and innovation, but India is well-placed to benefit further from France’s infrastructures, technologies and industrial capacity.
Over recent years, the balance of power in trade between the two countries has changed significantly. It is now a two-way relationship between equals. “India is no longer an emerging economy but an emerged economy” commented Dan Oiknine, President of the CCIFI. In a globalized world, India now has a better understanding of markets and business at international level. “India is a large vibrant democracy” noted H.E. Mr. Rakesh Sood, India’s Ambassador to France. India’s large middle-class population is also a young workforce.
Just like France, India is very active in the fields of R&D and innovation. As such, the two countries have everything they need to set up technology partnerships. India can also count on France’s industrial strength which, due to its strategic location, can act as an excellent point of entry for companies seeking to conquer the European and Mediterranean markets.
However, for the time being, as illustrated by the PWC report presented to the Indian Ambassador during the meeting, France’s potential still goes largely unrecognized by Indian investors. The aim of this report is to present the openness of the French economy to foreign investors by highlighting all the measures that have been taken to stimulate investment – France’s research credit tax, centers of excellence and innovation clusters are key initiatives in this respect.
The CCIFI keeps investors informed, promotes meetings between the French and Indian business communities and facilitates occupational mobility between the two countries. As a symbol of the increasing cooperation between the two countries, the IFA and the CCIFI have signed a partnership agreement to develop Indian investments in France.
Invest India is also a very important partner for the IFA, as this organization also works to inform Indian investors about investment opportunities abroad by putting them in contact with local agencies.
At the first round table, chaired by Fatia Bouteiller, a legal expert in economic immigration at the IFA, an overview was offered of the basic rules governing the expatriation of Indian investors and skilled employees to France. Christelle Caporali-Petit, an official from the Economic Immigration Office, announced the imminent opening of a one-stop service in five new départements. This service, which is highly appreciated by expatriates, will now be available in 80% of the most affected départements. Agnès Charpenet, a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie then gave a presentation of the tax breaks available to Indian expatriates in France.
Kaptil Gupta, CEO of Deltronix, described the advantages that France offers Indian investors by recounting his own success story. In 2010 Deltronix acquired French company F2R, which subsequently made it easy for Deltronix to commence operations in France and Europe, while the merger of the two companies’ client databases allowed it to become a key international player in its field. In order not to unsettle F2R clients and suppliers, Deltronix chose to leverage the company’s French image, notably by maintaining its website in French and choosing a French director to run its subsidiary. Setting up business in France enabled Deltronix to learn different working practices by adapting to local markets where habits and customs are sometimes very different to those that exist in India.
At the second round table dealing with technology partnerships, Sébastien Mantanus, Director of Development at Néva, informed investors of the advantages of France’s research tax credit, which is available to any company operating under French law that wishes to invest in R&D in France. R&D and innovation, as Florent Massou from France’s General Investment Commission (CGI) subsequently pointed out, are two of the main areas that are benefiting from the French government’s “National Investment Program”.
At the end of this round table, Kumar Kaleeswaran, Director of TCS France, offered a practical presentation of the various technology partnerships that can be established. Thanks to the IFA, a “day for innovation” has been set up to ensure that Indian investors can obtain information about France’s economy and the investment opportunities open to them in the country.
The conclusion of John Hadley’s presentation on behalf of PWC offered an excellent insight into Indian optimism for future business relations between the two countries and the attractiveness of the French economy to Indian companies: “France is a nice place to visit… and a good place to do business.”