Chinese firms the second largest Asian investors in France

Alsace investment chief says foreign direct investment into the country by Chinese companies reached HK$24.06 billion last year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 July, 2016, 9:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 July, 2016, 10:14pm

Increasing numbers of Chinese companies are investing in France, across a range of industries including technology, food and beverage, and hotels, according to one of the country’s leading inward investment officials.

Andre Reichardt, French regional councillor and president of Access Alsace, and Alsace Business & Tourism Development Agency, said Chinese companies have increased their investment in France over the past few years, and that trend is likely to continue.

“Chinese and Hong Kong companies are interested in investing in a wide range of businesses from technology to food and wine, and hotel and tourism,” Reichardt told the South China Morning Post during a visit to Hong Kong

China is the second largest Asian investor in France, after Japan.

French government statistics show foreign direct investment into the country by Chinese companies reached 2.8 billion euro (last year and there were more than 600 Chinese and Hong Kong companies in France now employing 45,000. French exports to China stood at 22.5 billion.

Leading companies on that investment list included new technology firm Huawei, phone maker ZTE, chemical firm Chemchina, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and e-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns the Post.

In tourism, Fosun recently acquired Club Med, while Louvre Hotels was bought by Jinjiang International.

There are 1,600 French firms in China, employing more than 570 000 people. In Hong Kong, there are about 315 French firms with offices.

“Many Chinese firms invest in France as a springboard to expand not only into Europe but also to African markets,” Reichardt said.

He said the Alsace region is also an ideal stepping stone into Germany and other neighbouring countries.

The French government offers grant support for research and development by companies, often in cooperation with universities, particularly in innovation sectors.

Alsace is also a popular destination for healthcare, renewable energy and automotive industry investment, said Reichardt.