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Big tech companies investing in France

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-05-14 09:22
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France's President Emmanuel Macron visits a McCain fries factory in Matougues, east of Paris on Monday as part of the Choose France summit. GONZALO FUENTES/POOL/AP

France has announced a flurry of significant investments from tech titans Amazon and Microsoft, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and financial powerhouse Morgan Stanley, boosting the country's bid to become a global business hub.

The French government said the United States retail giant Amazon will make a 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) commitment to investments in the country, while pharmaceutical leaders Pfizer and AstraZeneca will commit nearly 1 billion euros.

The pledges were announced ahead of a pivotal foreign investment summit, the Choose France event, which opened on Monday in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron, seeking to enhance Paris' status as a premier European business hub and bolster the French economy, is hosting 180 corporate leaders at the Chateau de Versailles for the annual summit.

The event is part of a push by the country's government to revitalize France's industrial sector and streamline regulations to entice foreign enterprises, reported Bloomberg.

According to the Elysee palace, the president's office, a total of more than 15 billion euros will be invested in 56 projects set to be unveiled at the summit, which would surpass those of last year's event, which reached the 13 billion euro mark.

Amazon's investment will focus on enhancing its logistics and computing capabilities, particularly in artificial intelligence, or AI, leading to an anticipated creation of 3,000 jobs.

Additionally, Pfizer plans to reinvest 500 million euros in France, while AstraZeneca is expected to invest roughly 365 million euros in the Dunkirk region, said the Elysee.

Microsoft announced its intent to invest 4 billion euros in constructing cloud and AI infrastructure in France, with the goal of training one million individuals and assisting 2,500 startups by 2027.

Morgan Stanley is enhancing its European presence in Paris with a new global research hub according to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. The US bank has increased its Paris staff from 150 to around 400 since 2021 and plans to add 100 more employees, including expanding its research and development center from 90 to 120 workers.

Despite facing challenges such as budget deficits, the French economy, which ranks as the eurozone's second-largest, experienced a modest 0.2 percent growth in the first quarter, noted Reuters.

Le Maire told reporters on Sunday that when he attends an EU gathering in Brussels this week he intended to emphasize the importance of establishing a capital markets union to streamline investments in emerging sectors, like renewable energy and artificial intelligence.

He said: "Europe needs money. If not, it will continue to lose out in terms of productivity to the United States and China."

Le Maire said he would host meetings on Monday, at the Choose France event, with the CEOs of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, among others.

"These roundtables will give us an opportunity to once again reach out to the big financial investors so they can continue to set up sites in Paris and finance the major industrial and economic projects on which we are working with the president," he said.

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