An advanced and industrialised country, France is the third-largest economy in Europe and the 6th largest in the world in terms of GDP.


Fostering a pro-business environment, a sophisticated market and a highly educated workforce, France is an attractive place to set up a business.

And no wonder why! Located at the heart of Europe, France offers easy access to the rest of the continent while also within reach of Africa & the Middle East. 

France is also one of the most visited countries globally, and its culture is widely recognised across the globe, rendering it the perfect place to set-up your European HQ.

Still not convinced? Here are a few key reasons why France is the ideal country to expand to:


1. Attracts Foreign Investment

France’s strategic geographical location and high-quality transport infrastructure allow businesses easy access to many geographical regions, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

This has contributed to France topping the rankings for the most attractive country in Europe for foreign investors for the second year running, beating the UK (especially since Brexit).

There are over 28,000 companies with foreign capital in France, employing 11% of the workforce. Foreign companies make up 21% of industry work, 30% of French exports and 21% of domestic research and development (R&D) expenditures. France is also ranked 10th for foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock.  


2. Global Economic Power

According to data from the world bank, France’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was worth 2603 billion US dollars in 2020. France is also the world’s seventh-largest economy after the United States, China, Japan, Germany, India and the United Kingdom.

The French economy goes beyond its well-known economic sectors of luxury goods and agrifood, and has strong banking, insurance, energy and automotive industries as well.

France is the third-largest economy in the European Union, the 6th largest exporter of goods, and the 4th largest exporter of services. In addition to this, 31 French companies are among the top 500 companies in the world in terms of revenue.


3. Financially Attractive

Setting up in France is quick & affordable. In fact, limited french liability can be incorporated within two weeks with but one director and one shareholder, who can be of any nationality. The minimum paid-up share capital required is €1.


– Furthermore, the French government and other entities offer a range of financial incentives to entice foreign businesses to expand to France. These include: 

– The Public Investment bank offers low-interest rates of up to €1.5 million to finance innovation projects for companies with less than 250 employees, less than 50 million in revenue and has been operational for three years.

– The government offers an investment of up to €15 million to unlisted resident companies with at least €20 million in annual turnover and has had one profitable year in the last three years.

– Companies with less than 250 employees, €50 million in annual revenue can benefit from a public guarantee scheme on bank loans financing, the design and development of new products and services and R&D investment.

– The French government provides low-cost trade credit insurance to all resident companies, covering 100% of exports values for companies with less than €150 million in turnovers.

-Global entrepreneurs registering their company in France can secure loans at interest rates averaging only 2.2% annually, the lowest figure since 2002.

These programs are geared towards making it easier for companies to do business and enable the business community to create ongoing jobs.

France has also signed tax conventions with over 120 countries geared towards eliminating double taxation. The VAT rate in France is 20%, though there is a 5/10% reduced rate depending on your business and other variables. You can see them here at VAT Global.


4. Technology & Innovation Hub

Technology and innovation play an essential role in the French economy, and its government invests heavily in R&D, which creates a favourable foundation for innovative businesses. 

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Global Innovation Index, France remains the 16th most innovative country globally and ranks 11th in the 2019 European Innovation Scoreboard. 

In 2017, the French government set itself the goal of making France a “Start-up Nation” and, on the 15th of January 2018, created a fund of €10 billion to finance innovation, which sales of public assets will endow.

The government also offers a tech Visa, a fast-tracked scheme for non-EU startups, employees, founders and investors to obtain a residence permit for France. 

Finally, France’s capital, Paris, is home to the Sophia Antipolis technology park, with the highest technology engineers outside the Silicon Valley. Major global technology players have established a presence in the park, such as Accenture, Cisco, Intel, IBM, Air France, and Orange.


5. European Union Access

As a founding member of the European Union and Eurozone, France has direct access to the European market and EU partners.

The EU stimulates GDPs to grow, creating more jobs and higher wages, offers free movement on labour, goods services and capital, and gives you access to its 450 million consumers

The EU also offers many macroeconomic impacts as well as growing FDI. It is a regional hub and gateway with effective transport through the major Helsinki corridors, state subsidies, and access to financial institutions and funds across Europe. 

There are also significant benefits for companies in the EU. For example, businesses have:

– Access to funds and support from SEMs

– Transparency of taxation and business accounting rules

– No costumes or quantitative restrictions within the EU

– Simplified administration procedures when trading with EU members, and

– Easy access to a market of 450 million consumers.


 6. Queen Of Tourism

Like most European countries, tourism plays a vital role in France’s economy. Pre COVID-19, France received over 85 million visitors per year, representing almost 10% of the nation’s GDP.

France is one of the most visited countries globally and is a top destination for business conferences. Its popularity can be attributed to its history, cultural influence, culinary experiences, and renowned attractions, including UNESCO world heritage sites located throughout the country.

Thanks to this touristic appeal, businesses that expand to France can expect a constant influx of new potential customers.



France has all the right assets in place to attract, develop and expand your business no matter the size. The government and the general ecosystem all align to offer your business the optimal conditions for success.


Interested in expanding your businesses to France? Get in touch with our local team of experts or download our FREE eBook on How to Expand Your Business to France below.

About the Author:

Simon is Polyglot's Head Of Operations - International, and is based at our European HQ in Paris. A fluent speaker in French and English, Simon seeks to equip company's with the best information to enter and flourish in the French market.
Read more about Simon Miclet.