China-France economic cooperation advances

China and France have witnessed increasing economic cooperation since establishing diplomatic relations 55 years ago. The two countries are set to expand cooperation in more fields to deepen their economic ties.

French President Emmanuel Macron will pay a state visit to China from November 4 to 6 and attend the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

The bilateral trade between the two countries surged 15.5 percent to a record sum of 62.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. France's exports of agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and luxury clothing enjoyed rapid increase, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Two-way investment between the two countries has also been flourishing. China's direct investment in France reached 330 million U.S. dollars during the January-November period last year.

French companies invested 5,647 projects worth about 17.49 billion dollars in China as of November last year, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. French investment mainly covers the energy, automobile, aviation, telecommunication and chemicals sectors.

In September, the second unit of Taishan nuclear power plant, a China-France joint venture, finished its testing phase and commenced operation. The first unit was put into commercial use a year ago.

Recently, two-way cooperation is also gaining momentum in emerging areas including artificial intelligence, finance, health care and environmental protection.

France is also actively engaged in technology cooperation with China, especially in 5G. The French president said in May that the country supports Chinese telecoms company Huawei in building its 5G network infrastructure. Huawei launched a new smartphone in Paris on October 17.

Huawei Paris headquarters. /VCG Photo

Huawei Paris headquarters. /VCG Photo

New opportunities at 2nd CIIE

As a guest of honor at the second CIIE, France will hold over 50 innovation-themed activities in the French pavilion. Seventeen famous French companies like Air Liquide, Saint-Gobain and Societe Generale will attend the expo.

Given the increasingly attractive Chinese market and more diverse consumer demands, French companies are trying to make products more personalized to cater to consumers' needs.

French beauty brand L'Oreal, for example, is making efforts to employ technology and innovation in their products, according to its CEO Fabrice Megarbane who will attend the second CIIE.