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Macron Vowed to Make France a ‘Start-Up Nation.’ Is It Getting There?

Mr. Macron’s efforts to make France a hub for artificial intelligence research have also been slow to make headway. Britain still has the strongest A.I. ecosystem in Europe, with over 120 firms involved in the technology, compared with 39 in France, according to Asgard Capital, a Berlin-based venture capital firm.

The trend here is shifting, though.

Big businesses are increasingly tallying the advantages, especially since Mr. Macron convened 140 chief executives of global companies at an ornate gathering at the Palace of Versailles in January. He told them that he was pursuing a strategy to make France more productive and competitive, and announced more than €3.5 billion in foreign investments, including a large chunk for tech.

Macron Vowed to Make France a ‘Start-Up Nation.’ Is It Getting There?
Macron Vowed to Make France a ‘Start-Up Nation.’ Is It Getting There?

SAP of Germany plans to invest €2 billion in research and development. DeepMind, the London-based machine learning company owned by Google’s parent, Alphabet, will expand its operations in Paris as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

Facebook and Google also plan to beef up their French presence and their artificial intelligence teams in Paris over the next several years. And just before Mr. Macron’s official state visit with Mr. Trump this month, Salesforce, the American cloud computing company, announced a new $2.2 billion investment in its French business over the next five years.

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