Why the Chinese are not Investing in France

Chinese investment in France
Chinese investment in France
A giant dragon parade for Chinese New Year February 2, 2014 in the district of Belleville, in Paris – Francois Guillot AFP

The Chinese prefer to locate their activities in England and Germany, reveals the 2015 E&Y Barometer study published today …

When they get hold of a vineyard, a football club or part of PSA, they make headlines. And the Chinese have actually increased the acquisitions in France in recent years . But we are very far from the invasion in late 2012, the stock of Hong Kong and Chinese investments in France was barely 4.2 billion euros … four times less than the stock of French investment in China.

And last year, the Chinese have realized only 17 sites in France, against 79 in Germany, according to the 2015 barometer of attractiveness, produced by E & Y.  But why do they prefer our neighbours?  “Because it offers more SMEs to sell, which are becoming positioned on the high end,” replies Eric Delbecque, honorary president of the Association for Competitiveness and Economic Security (FSCA).

“Germany also is also interesting because of it is located centrally in Europe and a leader in exporting. By acquiring a German SME, the Chinese do not sell only in Germany, but in Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, etc.”Says Marc Lhermitte, Partner, E & Y

“The safety of expatriates and their families becomes a subject”

As for the UK, where the Chinese have made 40 investments last year, “it is the capital of finance.  By setting up in London, the Chinese are closer to investment banks and major financial media, “says Marc Lhermitte.

More generally, “the Chinese believe that the English and the Germans are doing everything to build a strong economic relationship with them … Unlike the French,” Eric Delbecque analysis.  As summarized for Business * France Jean-Pierre Raffarin, founder member of the France-China Committee , they had difficulty understanding why “you have to process visas with the prefect, the building permit with the city, with the economic funding department, the training funding with the region … They do not understand that there is no project manager. ”

“The issue of the safety of expatriates and their families also becomes a subject. There are robberies and assaults.   It is a phenomenon that repeats itself and gives a bad image, “adds Nhay Phan, president of the Association of Chinese companies in France. Which also emphasizes the language barrier.

“France is a country that is waiting for you”

And the sometimes hostile statements of economic, media and political circles also play.  As at the stake in a Chinese fund Toulouse-Blagnac Airport . “Chinese investors often raise unreasonable fears, when they should be treated with the same kindness and the same vigilance all the time as other investors,” insists Eric Delbecque. Adding: “Why would a French business leader be necessarily more favourable to employment and the French territories than that of a Chinese leader? ”

“Many experiments show that when the Chinese are involved,they are involved for the long term,” said Gérard Deman, Chairman of the Board of Adisseo, a French company acquired by a Chinese group in 2006.

In any case, the Chinese want to increase their investments abroad. “This is the time to seduce them, if we want them setting up in France of value-creating activities and jobs,” said Eric Delbecque. The political world has to understand.  After Francois Hollande in 2013, the Prime-minister Manuel Valls has made ​​a trip to China in late January.  He then said: “France is a country that is waiting for you (…). Do not fear nor our social law nor the French reality, on the contrary, it is a country that will let you make beautiful business. “

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