French firms see China as land of opportunity

Updated: 2011-04-01 07:57

By Bao Chang (China Daily)

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French firms see China as land of opportunity

An outlet of the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton in Fuzhou, Fujian province. Global revenue generated by French companies in China hit 35 billion euros ($49.75 billion) last year, tripling that from France's direct exports to China. Zheng Shuai / for China Daily

BEIJING - Seeing the strong potential of China's economy, French companies want to deepen their presence in the Chinese market to benefit from the fast growth of the world's second-largest economy, driven by the country's new five-year plan.

"The challenge for French firms investing in China is currently how to address the Chinese market rather than to export from China," Annick de Kermadec-Bentzmann, president of the French Chamber of Commerce (CCIFC), told China Daily.

De Kermadec-Bentzmann said China's attraction for French companies is based on the upward trend of the economy, which will bring vast business opportunities and generate revenue for French investors.

"French companies plan to adjust their global industrial and commercial strategies for the Chinese market and strengthen their research and development capabilities to be in line with China's new economic strategy in the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015)" she said.

China intends to create a balanced economy with measures including upgrading its industry, developing its western region and developing green energy during the coming five years.

"For French companies, China is not a global production factory anymore, but a top investment destination with large potential in terms of high-technology business and domestic consumption," said De Kermadec-Bentzmann.

Global revenues generated by French companies in China hit 35 billion euros ($49.75 billion) last year, tripling that from France's direct exports to China.

According to the CCIFC, French exports to China reached 11 billion euros in 2010, rising 39.4 percent from a year earlier.

De Kermadec-Bentzmann said French companies are eager to engage in China's economic transition, the engine of the country's development over the next few years.

"Furthermore, presence in the Chinese market provides a very important indirect opportunity by inducing partnerships with Chinese companies to tackle foreign markets such as Africa and Europe," she added.

According to the CCIFC, 1,000 French companies in the chamber have more than 2,300 branches in China, employing 500,000 workers.

"Sectors including space, automotive, aviation, railway, nuclear, environment, agriculture and food processing that were stated in the joint France-China statement last November in Paris constitute wide opportunities for French firms that want to invest in China," she said.

China and France signed billions of euros worth of business deals in the aviation, telecom and nuclear industries during President Hu Jintao's visit to France last November.

"French companies are also accelerating their steps to enter China's second-tier cities, including Qingdao, Changsha, Kunming and Xi'an, buoyed by the country's plan to stimulate consumer markets in second- and third-tier cities," De Kermadec-Bentzmann said.

The French luxury brand Louis Vuitton announced it will further expand business in China's second-tier cities this year, after opening its first store in Zhengzhou, Henan province, in January.

China Daily


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