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France Market

French Economic Indicators

France represents a market of 63 million consumers and is situated at the heart of the worlds’ biggest market, the European Union, with some 493 million citizens. In 2006, France was the 3rd leading economy in Europe and the 5th leading economy worldwide. It is the 4th leading exporter of services and the 5th leading exporter of goods.
20,000 subsidiaries of international companies employing a total of almost 2 million people in France
France represents a market of consumers with high spending power, and is situated at the heart of the world’s biggest market: the European Union, which now has 493 million citizens. The French market is also supported by the 75 million tourists who visit the country each year, making France the leading tourist destination in the world.
France is very open to foreign talents: in 2005, France welcomed 256,000 foreign students and nearly 20,000 international research scientists.
France has a long tradition of industrial activity, and today has 2.5 million companies. Major French corporations have successfully adapted to the globalization of the economy.
For example, 11 French corporations are ranked among the top 100 companies in the world: Total (12th), Axa (15th), Crédit Agricole (19th), Carrefour (25th), BNP Paribas (34th), PSA Peugeot Citroën (60th), Société Générale (67th), Electricité de France (68th), France Telecom (71st), Suez (96th) and Renault (100th).
There are also 48 French companies ranked among the 200 leading companies in Europe (source: Forbes).
France has leading companies in many different sectors:
  • Automotive: Renault Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën.
  • Energy: Total, Areva, EDF, Gaz de France.
  • Agro-food: Danone, Pernod Ricard
  • Consumer goods distribution: Carrefour
  • Pharmaceuticals: Sanofi Aventis
  • Transportation: Air France-KLM, Alstom
  • Luxury goods: L’Oréal, LVMH
  • Banking and insurance: Axa, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas
France has 20,000 international subsidiaries in all sectors of business activity (INSEE, March 2006). These subsidiaries employ almost 2 million people, a figure that has doubled in 10 years: 1 employee out of every 7 (which is more than 14% of the total number of employees in the private sector) works for a subsidiary of an international company. This is more than in Germany, the United Kingdom or the United States.
As of December 31, 2006, 46.5% of the French CAC 40 companies stock was held by foreign investors.
The acquisition of French companies by international companies continues to increase: in 2006, this totaled 40 billion dollars (Thomson Financial).
In 2006, foreign direct investment in France reached 58.4 billion euros. France was the 4th leading destination for inward FDI between 2003 and 2005.
  • France has 20,000 subsidiaries of international companies employing a total of almost 2 million people.
  • Acquisitions of French companies by international companies reached 40 billion dollars in 2006.