France announces record $16bn in foreign investment

03:01

The French presidency has announced a new round of foreign investment deals in France worth a record $16 billion. Companies like tech giant Amazon and pharmaceutical firm GSK said they would be creating thousands of jobs in France.

The deals were announced as part of the annual ‘Choose France’ business summit which is held at the former royal palace of the Chateau of Versailles, just outside Paris. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said “for many years, France has been a nation of consumers – we want to become again a nation of producers.”

On Monday, there were roundtable discussions on green industry, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. France will host a summit on AI later in the year and it is trying to position itself as a European hub for the growing AI sector.

French president Emmanuel Macron spoke at length about AI in a major speech on Europe last month, and he outlined his ambitions for Europe as a whole to become a world leader in the technology. The French presidency said the overall investments announced this year included 56 different business projects and could lead to the creation of 10,000 jobs.

French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd right) and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire (2nd left) at the Choose France Summit. /Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron (2nd right) and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire (2nd left) at the Choose France Summit. /Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

U.S. giant Amazon says it would invest $1.3 billion in France to boost its logistics and its cloud infrastructure, while the president of one of Amazon’s tech rivals, Microsoft, attended an event on Monday with Macron. Brad Smith made a few remarks in French, saying that the U.S. company “chooses France.” Microsoft said it would invest $4 billion in France in its cloud and AI infrastructure.

The investment pledges came in sectors from agriculture to energy and gave a boost to the government, with Macron’s Renaissance party trailing the far right National Rally in EU election polls.

Other companies which announced investment in France on Monday included internet services company Equinix, Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk and Estonian high-power energy storage firm Skeleton Technologies.

China’s Hunan Changyuan Lico, South Korean group Enchem, and Swiss firm KL1 are due to make investments worth together just over $1 billion in producing materials or components for batteries.

Subscribe to Storyboard: A weekly newsletter bringing you the best of CGTN every Friday