France was one of the top global destinations for inward crossborder investments in 2012, according to Invest in France, the country’s investment promotion agency. The agency reported that in 2012, France was the fifth most popular FDI destination worldwide, and the second most popular in Europe behind the UK.
According to Invest in France's report, Job-Creating Foreign Investment in France, there were 693 new ventures in France in 2012. Almost 60% of these came from Europe, Asia and North America, with nearly one-quarter of investment originating in the US. The report also highlighted the growth in investment from the BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. In 2012, BRIC countries accounted for 8% of projects in France, up from 6% in 2011. China was the biggest BRIC investor in France.
The most popular fields for investment in France are software and IT, electronic components and hardware, energy, chemicals, and aerospace. According to the report, 57% of all projects in 2012 were in these sectors.
The agency reported that the increase of FDI into blue-chip sectors was a result of government-led policies aimed at attracting innovative new businesses. Among the government initiatives on offer to such companies is a research tax credit, which leverages some of the costs of doing business in France. Global financial services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers describes the initiative as a demonstration of the government's “strong willingness to promote and encourage R&D in France“.
In a bid to further boost its investment attractiveness, France has recently implemented a number of other pro-FDI regulations. These include the National Pact for Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, which offers, among other incentives, tax deductions and easier access to funding, and the Investment for the Future Programme, an initiative aimed at providing capital to companies that are aiming to develop blue-chip technologies and create high-tech jobs.