Summer Davos: Fourth Industrial Revolution in Europe
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution spreads around the world, my colleague Michael Wang caught up with Pascal Cagni, board chairman and ambassador for International Investment at Business France to get a sense of how 4-I-R is impacting France and Europe.
1. PASCAL CAGNI, BOARD CHAIRMAN, AMBASSADOR FOR INT'L INVESTMENT BUSINESS FRANCE "We've gone through massive transformations in France. With the election of a brand new president, he's young, 40 years old, we conducted a train of reform which is extremely strong. Centered around the rebirth of entrepreneurship. If you interview people 18-25 years old just 6-7 years ago, less than 10% of them will tell you they want to become entrepreneurs. Today up to 55-60% of them want to become entrepreneurs. When they talk about entrepreneurship and general purpose technologies is at the heart of what they wanna do. That's what's happening in France, refreshing and enthusiastic."
2. PASCAL CAGNI, BOARD CHAIRMAN, AMBASSADOR FOR INT'L INVESTMENT BUSINESS FRANCE "We are lucky because we've got a generation of policy makers who are very close to millennials, close to the heart of what's happening. I've been an observer with my background. In France, we have an amazing program called the French-Tech. It's the ability to basically gather entrepreneurs, create a role model, and ensure that through 22 tech hubs around Europe, Asia, around the US with more than 6 tech hubs here in China. We can basically explain what is the new revolution at stake. We also bring a lot of investment, we are also making sth very unique, we're putting tax incentives for researchers. And France has really become the place to go when you think about R&D centers in Europe. One out of four R&D centers in Europe opened by foreign companies is in France. SO the positioning of France as an R&D overall center is the key. You've got large companies like Fujitsu, Google, Facebook, IBM, Watson, which has been taking full benefit of this opportunity and we would love to have more of the Chinese companies to come over and invest in R&D centers."
3. PASCAL CAGNI, BOARD CHAIRMAN, AMBASSADOR FOR INT'L INVESTMENT BUSINESS FRANCE "The policy making we are talking about here is simply focusing on how do we redirect capital from venture capital and private equity, to startups, also how do we better finance our SMEs to let them be able to conquer new markets. It's also really a sense of focus. I talked about the focus on R&D, but there is also massive revolutions on e-commerce. France is the ideal entering gate for a Europe market of more than 500 mln inhabitants. We are very close in distance to the Arab world of over 400 mln (people), also very close distance to Africa. SO in many respect, our geographic positioning could be a fantastic strength. So much, you've got 1 out of 4 foreign companies thinking about logistics sector coming to France. Again, China hasn't been taking full benefit of that. R&D, logistics, the new revolutions of the industry. The focus of the government is to help with an initiative called the French-Hub, to help the French people accommodate more investors into the industry."