Thanks to its pastries, chic cafés and being just a short trip across La Manche (the Channel), France is a popular choice when it comes to expanding a business into international waters. But what are the benefits of doing business in France, and how easy is it to establish a new company there?
France is the world’s 5th largest economy, and the 2nd largest in Europe, following Germany. What’s more, there are over 20,000 foreign businesses already established in France – so it’s a great choice if you don’t want to take on too much risk too soon.
The big French cities are also well-connected, thanks to the high speed rail network, TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). So after a business meeting in Paris, you could be on the coast in just a couple of hours.
Some of the most popular industries importing into France include clothing, automotive, plastics and electronic equipment. But that’s not to say that if you operate in another sector, you won’t be successful – the average spend per consumer in France is at an all time high. In the e-Commerce sector, Amazon and eBay rank as 1st and 2nd in the top 10 retail sites – so if you sell products on these platforms, marketplace localisation could open up a world of opportunities.
The World Bank manages the global ‘ease of doing business’ ranking, which is based on various measures, including starting a business and trading across borders and France is ranked 27 out of 189.
The French language is part of the FIGS language group – French, Italian, German and Spanish. They are grouped together as these are the first 4 languages a UK based business usually localises for when expanding into foreign markets.
Business process and etiquette in France doesn’t differ largely from that of the UK. Respecting a business’ hierarchy is very important though, and if you’re unsure, it is best to address someone formally, using ‘Monsieur’ or ‘Madame’, followed by their surname.