France as a New Technology Power?
In June 2017 President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron publicly announced his plan to turn France into a start-up nation. Macron is a great supporter of modern technology, often visiting startup events and convincing large technology companies to invest in France.
Macron's vision involves reforming lower corporate taxes, state support for innovation, cyber security, cloud computing and the development of big data products as well as improving the labor market to make it more flexible and responsive to work dynamics.
While experts’ response to his strategy is ambivalent, it appears that circumstances favor Macron’s politics. Despite different legislative constraints, a number of languages, low level of available capital, cultural differences and other disadvantages of European market poses in comparison to the American or Chinese market, France takes the advantage of Brexit as various international companies began to consider their move from England to France. Compared to 2016, in 2017 French companies doubled their investment and received as much investment as in 2017 in the first half of 2018.
In less than a year after the announcement, the world's largest startup incubator Station F has been introduced in Paris in the former Paris station and it serves more than 1,000 startups.
Continuing in this fashion, Macron’s team expects 150 and 200 million euros in French technology firms by 2020 (whether startups or techno giants like Facebook), and Macron has committed to allocate 1.5 billion euros to A.I.
Despite these achievements, other countries are still more successful in startups than France. Sweden has several successful startups, Estonia continues its digital campaign while having the third largest concentration of startups in Europe.
And of course, Israel cannot be opposed as leading start-up nation in the world. Israel has thirty times more capital per capita than Europe, more startups per capita than any other country and invests 4.3% of GDP per year in R&D (compared to, for instance, France with its 2.2% of GDP invested in 2015).