French President and foreign investors at Château de Versailles.
22 January 2019

Choose France: a summit for showcasing France's economic appeal

On 21 January 2019 Château de Versailles hosted the “Choose France” summit. Aim: to promote France's economic appeal among foreign small and large businesses alike.
Nearly 150 business leaders attended this second "Choose France" summit alongside several members of Government and President Emmanuel Macron for a half-day of talks at Château de Versailles. The aim for public authorities was to highlight the advantages of all local areas as a whole in a bid to attract foreign investment.

150 business leaders from France and abroad attended

Château de VersaillesSenior figures in attendance included the CEOs of Microsoft, General Electrics, Alibaba, Samsung, Uber and Ikea as well as the Managing Directors of such French businesses as Airbus, Danone and Engie.

Six thematic workshops were held during the summit as well as 400 interviews in the presence of French ministers and public industrial and commercial establishments (EPICs) of the likes of Business France and the public investment bank, Bpifrance. The day ended with a speech given by the President of the Republic.

The “Choose France” Summit was held ahead of the 49th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which is running from 22 to 26 January 2019. Since 1971, this event has brought together business leaders and policy makers to discuss key global economic issues.

A constructive 2018 summit

Choose France Summit 2018Last year, the first “Choose France” summit had led to pledges of up to €3.5bn in investment and 2,200 potential job creations over five years.

In 2018, the German company SAP had particularly unveiled plans to invest €2bn in France over five years on projects geared towards eliminating climate change and artificial intelligence. For its part, the Toyota Group had announced investment of up to €300m and the creation of 800 jobs at its Onnaing site (Valenciennes). Facebook, meanwhile, had pledged to unlock €10m for its forthcoming Paris-based Artificial Intelligence Research Lab.

According to the survey conducted by Kantar for Business France in autumn 2018, France is considered to be the second most attractive country in Europe after Germany, and ahead of the UK. This study also reveals that 85% of foreign business executives asked associate France with industry, creativity, competitiveness, innovation and a start-up mentality.

Moreover, against the backdrop of Brexit, France is also keen to attract businesses looking to relocate from the UK. Indeed, there are signs that several companies would like to return to the continent.

“In 2017, we received 1,300 foreign investments, which represent 34,000 jobs created or retained,” Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, told France’s Sunday newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche. “This is the best result ever recorded. A similar result is expected in 2018.” As for 2019 forecasts, the Minister said: “We should be able to do even better thanks to the recent measures we have rolled out”.