US companies invest billions in France, with focus on AI

Lorenzo Bagnato

13 May 2024 - 17:17

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American tech and pharmaceutical giants announced billions of dollars in investments in France. The biggest focus is on the country’s young AI sector.

US companies invest billions in France, with focus on AI

American industrial giants will invest billions of dollars in France, according to the Elysee after the annual “Choose France” investment event. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed several times his intention to make Paris the new center of European business. At the moment, that spot is still occupied by London despite the UK’s departure from the European Union.

On Sunday, Macron announced the American banking giant Morgan Stanley will create 100 new jobs in Paris.

In addition, two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Astrazeneca, will invest roughly $500 million each in their French assets. Pfizer will increase research and development investments in the country, while Astrazeneca will improve its site at Dunkirk.

Other companies including Glaxo Smith Kline, Accenture, and the German aviation firm Lilium will also pour billions of dollars into the country.

Focus on artificial intelligence

The big protagonist of this year’s “Choose France” summit was new investments in generative artificial intelligence.

France is the leading European country in the sector, with the French company Mistral featuring among the most interesting AI start-ups in the world.

Mistral AI is a Large Language Model (LLM) on the same structure as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini. According to The Economist, Mistral AI could boast better performances than both of its biggest American rivals. The French LLM is also reportedly much lighter, with a few billion parameters compared to the trillions in ChatGPT, the publication wrote.

Microsoft, which announced a partnership with Mistral in February, announced a further $4 billion investment in France’s generative AI effort. Microsoft’s vice chairman and president Brad Smith also said the company would open a new data center in Mulhouse, in the French region of Alsace.

Another tech giant heavily investing in France’s generative AI sector will be Amazon. On Monday, the e-commerce giant said it will invest $1.3 billion in its French operations, adding roughly 3,000 new jobs.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), currently the most profitable division of Amazon, will increase cloud infrastructures in Paris in support of France’s AI opportunities. The company will also expand its logistics infrastructure in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

According to Yahoo! Finance, Amazon invested over $20 billion in France since 2010, adding a total of 22,000 new jobs. "These jobs are in addition to the 2,000 jobs we announced for 2024," said Amazon’s France manager Frédéric Duval.

Other US tech giants that announced new investments in France’s AI sector include Meta and Google.

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