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French mechanical engineering sector builds itself into a global leader

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 22-oct.-2014 12:57:48

  Véronique Cuziol, project head at Ubifrance, believes that the French mechanical engineering sector shows the best of the French manufacturing: “No, not all French industries are in decline. Some sectors are successful. For example, the mechanical engineering industry.” What exactly is this stellar industry all about? Mechanical engineering firms are diverse in products and services, but broadly they service and produce valued added products for the automobile, aerospace and railway industries.   The French mechanical engineering industry has a turnover of 113 billion euros annually, of which 45.6 billion are exported. These figures rank sixth worldwide and third within Europe. Overall there are over 50000 companies in the industry, including a few large players (Fives, Alstom, Areva and Air Liquide) and a healthy majority of smaller companies: 95% of all firms are  SMEs and start-ups.   Besides the USA and China, European markets are the traditional destinations of French exports in this sector. Germany remains by far the biggest importer. Therefore it’s not surprising that a great part of French mechanical engineering companies can be found at the world’s biggest industrial fair in Germany, the Hannover Messe.   French companies, and in particular SMEs, have been exceptionally effective in leveraging the country’s research clusters, some of the best in the world, into innovative solutions. A great example is the Mont Blanc Industries cluster, which specializes in precision machining, mechatronics and other advanced industrial techniques. There is a collective, national interest in creating what is being called the “Factory of the Future”: disruptive investments in technologies such as energy efficiency, 3d printing, and advanced robotics that will redefine the future of manufacturing through increased efficiency and reduction in costs.   Some of these French start-ups are making big splashes with innovative products. For example the French Expliseat, founded in 2011, produces the world’s lightest seat while also offering an innovative and ergonomic design, the “Titanium Seat.” Expliseat has recently received certification from the FAA (Federal American Aviation Administration) and can therefore supply the US aircraft industry.   Another example of a successful subsector is the textile machinery manufacturing: French firms offer extremely targeted and innovative products and an excellent customer service, as well as a highly skilled workforce.   The top 100 French subcontracting companies include a number of large businesses such as the LISI Group, which has a turnover of over one billion euros. There are also a myriad of smaller but nevertheless very ambitious companies such as Manoir Industries: specializing in metal forging and foundry, their objective is to become the world’s leader in the production of metals for the nuclear, oil & gas, petro-chemistry and construction sectors.   One must remember that France is one of the most attractive countries in Europe in terms of foreign investments, ranking 4th in the world in terms of industrial FDI. This is no surprise give that foreign investors have access to the second biggest economy in Europe, third highest hourly labour productivity, excellent infrastructure, and a central geographic position. Furthermore, France ranks second in Europe for the number of patent applications, with one in ten of these patents being the result of collaboration between a French and a foreign company.   Ubifrance, the French agency for export promotion, has 80 offices overseas. Its role is to help French companies in marketing their products abroad, as well assist foreign companies in finding French suppliers or partners.   More information about French companies : mechanical engineering

So French, so good ! France adds zest to its gourmet exports !

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 08-août-2014 09:10:14

  What French people consider as “typical”, the rest of the world perceives as symbolizing culinary art that can only be “Made in France.” Christophe Monnier, the expert for the Gourmet sector at UBIFRANCE, describes a high-end market with a broad range of dynamic diversity. He starts with baked goods, biscuits and chocolate , accounting for 50% of French gourmet exports. In the vast feast of consumables to be delighted in, two characteristically French trends stand out. First, there is an absolute respect for authentic flavor and tradition – neatly summed up by the French word terroir . Each gourmet product has its unique story, and that is how they need to be marketed. Secondly, with health concerns and awareness coming to the fore, carefully prepared organic and eco-friendly brands coming from France engender recognition and trust all around the world.   Major players in the gourmet sector like Valrhona (high quality chocolates), Rougie (famous French foie gras), Bridor (French bakery), Boirons ( and many other French companies are learning to be more reactive in providing service for their foreign accounts, to be more organized in responding to demanding foreign markets, in following up on orders quickly. Reliable logistics is the name of the game. Experts at UBIFRANCE like Christophe Monnier help up to 830 prospecting companies leverage their efforts in such programs as Saveurs de France , where French exporters demonstrate their know-how in new markets, such as in Latin America or in Asia. He also sets up highly selective – and profitable -- encounters with Purchasing Agents.   Naturally, French suppliers devote their greatest effort to the French domestic market, eventually moving on to satisfy demand in French-speaking zones. Yet growth in 2013 was hard to come by in countries such as Switzerland (0.4%) and Belgium (4.2%), which offer relatively saturated outlets. Encouraged by the French emigration to London, more intrepid companies crossed the channel to the UK (8.9%). The companies in the know moved beyond these traditional markets. This is where double-digit sparks fly, with Austria (17.1%) and Russia (13.5%) providing substantial growth in 2013. In fact, the further exporters go, the bigger the rewards are. In Asia, China weighed in at 33.3%, Singapore at 14.3% and Hong Kong at 12.8% growth. As far as the Middle East is concerned, companies marketing gourmet to Dubai and Saudi Arabia were rewarded by a growth rate of more than 20%.   According to Mr. Monnier, there are three prestigious showcases for French talent. He mentions SIAL and EUROPAIN known to be venue s where deals get done, especially for consumer products. The ultimate culinary event has to be the Cuisine Summit at SIRHA in Lyon. All the French know-how is mobilized to create an exceptional experience in 40,000 square meters, capped by the prestigious prize, the “Bocuse d’Or”, a televised cooking competition among the world’s most renowned chefs representing their countries. Only creative excellence, fabulous ingredients and culinary brio stand a chance of winning!   Further information about French companies – > Bakery, Grocery, Baked Goods, Miscellaneous  

Tags: Gourmet
Download: So French So Good

French sports-events companies keep on winning

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 31-juil.-2014 06:06:47

  GL Events of France managed Rio Centro, an exposition park that was the site of FIFA’s organization committee and press centre. Nearby sits a 306-room hotel that was used by many of the FIFA delegates: it was built by French construction group Bouygues and designed by French-born architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Each day, when officials arrived at the state-of-the-art Maracana stadium, the renewable energy powering the stadium was supplied thanks to a pilot project run by French energy group EDF and its partners. French-based companies have a long history of winning contracts for the supply of products and services at major international sporting events. According to Viviane Silberstein, Project Head at UBIFRANCE, much of the winning know-how of French businesses is acquired in their domestic market: “When French companies go abroad, they have to adapt to other markets, but domestic experience already gives a reference and an image, like Roland Garros or the next European football championship, and this is very important for an organizing committee.” France has proven experience in handling international sports events: the country has hosted various Winter Olympics (Chamonix, Grenoble and Albertville), the 1984 UEFA European Championship, the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Every year, France organizes the Tour de France cycling event. Roland Garros is another key international sporting event organised in France, and the country will host the 2016 UEFA European Championship. GL Event’s performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics helped the company to launch a successful bid for contracts during this summer’s Football World Cup in Brazil. GL Events was responsible for the design and installation of 25 indoor and 15 temporary outdoor sites across London — a contract that represented €21 million. However, even before this sizeable addition to its portfolio, GL Events had been managing a range of international events in Paris for years. In 2014, the Winter Olympics — the most expensive in history, at a total cost of $51 billion — took place in Sochi, in the Russian Federation: 12 French companies won a total of €100 million in contracts. A 2013 survey of the Rhône-Alpes region in South-Eastern France found that there are 300 locally based companies involved in the management of the winter-sports industry, bringing in approximately €1 billion in revenue per year. After all, France ranks third worldwide in winter-sports tourism, after Austria and the USA… French companies, building on their track record, have been successful domestically and internationally in this field. Innovative companies, which offer new products and technologies, find opportunities to showcase their solutions and grow. Seat Advert is a very young company that is revolutionizing the sporting experience: its small screens, as installed in stadiums, allow viewers to peruse ads and access real-time information, including game statistics. Seat Advert’s innovative solution has already found new clients in Mexico, with plans to expand into South America. The company has recently been awarded a contract for this year’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy, in North-Western France. Esportec Eco-Industriel is yet another young innovative company developing natural and ecological surfacing solutions for outdoor spaces. ECO’STABIL®, its patented material, is made out of waste and can be combined with other recycled products. While many of the uses of this and other products are not entirely recreational, they can be used to create cycle tracks, equestrian paths and footpaths. Currently, the company exports to Morocco, Benelux countries and Switzerland: the potential for expansion of this eco-friendly material in export markets is considerable, as more and more international sports events require contractors to pay attention to environmental considerations. Ms V Silberstein of UBIFRANCE explains that French companies are not afraid to take on the biggest challenges and, with their many successes, it is not surprising that, “They are approaching the market based on the biggest business opportunities, and these are the biggest international events, international football events, and Olympic Games. The criterion is not francophone and country specific and, now, UBIFRANCE is working with companies on all events.” International opportunities will continue to grow, with the $100 billion in new investments expected at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, $15 billion at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and $30 billion for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Apart from the biggest prizes over the next decade, there is a diverse set of opportunities that can sustain a business in the coming years. For example, there are smaller but lucrative events that French companies can target through UBIFRANCE, including sales expositions in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and preparatory events in Saint Petersburg (Russia) for the 2018 World Cup, all in the next 12 months. Furthermore, existing markets are always in a state of flux and French companies with good products and services are being rewarded with new contracts. Bodet, an equipment manufacturer specializing in scoreboards and video screens, is a prime example. Even though this French company has been present in the Middle East for more than 30 years, it recently acquired new business from Al Jazeera Sport Studios and in relation to stadiums in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City. While Ms Silberstein admits that, “The international sports-event market is extremely competitive,” it is also clear that many French companies, encouraged by expertise gained in their domestic market, are more than ready for the challenge. Besides, as she points out, “New opportunities and existing national markets will only grow over the next decade, with contracts that are so big that, if you have a small percentage of this contract, it is worth fighting for it.” In conclusion, it is clear that French-based companies are poised to continue with their off-the-pitch success in this competitive market.                                                            

French sports-events companies keep on winning

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 31-juil.-2014 06:06:47

  GL Events of France managed Rio Centro, an exposition park that was the site of FIFA’s organization committee and press centre. Nearby sits a 306-room hotel that was used by many of the FIFA delegates: it was built by French construction group Bouygues and designed by French-born architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Each day, when officials arrived at the state-of-the-art Maracana stadium, the renewable energy powering the stadium was supplied thanks to a pilot project run by French energy group EDF and its partners. French-based companies have a long history of winning contracts for the supply of products and services at major international sporting events. According to Viviane Silberstein, Project Head at UBIFRANCE, much of the winning know-how of French businesses is acquired in their domestic market: “When French companies go abroad, they have to adapt to other markets, but domestic experience already gives a reference and an image, like Roland Garros or the next European football championship, and this is very important for an organizing committee.” France has proven experience in handling international sports events: the country has hosted various Winter Olympics (Chamonix, Grenoble and Albertville), the 1984 UEFA European Championship, the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Every year, France organizes the Tour de France cycling event. Roland Garros is another key international sporting event organised in France, and the country will host the 2016 UEFA European Championship. GL Event’s performance at the 2012 Summer Olympics helped the company to launch a successful bid for contracts during this summer’s Football World Cup in Brazil. GL Events was responsible for the design and installation of 25 indoor and 15 temporary outdoor sites across London — a contract that represented €21 million. However, even before this sizeable addition to its portfolio, GL Events had been managing a range of international events in Paris for years. In 2014, the Winter Olympics — the most expensive in history, at a total cost of $51 billion — took place in Sochi, in the Russian Federation: 12 French companies won a total of €100 million in contracts. A 2013 survey of the Rhône-Alpes region in South-Eastern France found that there are 300 locally based companies involved in the management of the winter-sports industry, bringing in approximately €1 billion in revenue per year. After all, France ranks third worldwide in winter-sports tourism, after Austria and the USA… French companies, building on their track record, have been successful domestically and internationally in this field. Innovative companies, which offer new products and technologies, find opportunities to showcase their solutions and grow. Seat Advert is a very young company that is revolutionizing the sporting experience: its small screens, as installed in stadiums, allow viewers to peruse ads and access real-time information, including game statistics. Seat Advert’s innovative solution has already found new clients in Mexico, with plans to expand into South America. The company has recently been awarded a contract for this year’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy, in North-Western France. Esportec Eco-Industriel is yet another young innovative company developing natural and ecological surfacing solutions for outdoor spaces. ECO’STABIL®, its patented material, is made out of waste and can be combined with other recycled products. While many of the uses of this and other products are not entirely recreational, they can be used to create cycle tracks, equestrian paths and footpaths. Currently, the company exports to Morocco, Benelux countries and Switzerland: the potential for expansion of this eco-friendly material in export markets is considerable, as more and more international sports events require contractors to pay attention to environmental considerations. Ms V Silberstein of UBIFRANCE explains that French companies are not afraid to take on the biggest challenges and, with their many successes, it is not surprising that, “They are approaching the market based on the biggest business opportunities, and these are the biggest international events, international football events, and Olympic Games. The criterion is not francophone and country specific and, now, UBIFRANCE is working with companies on all events.” International opportunities will continue to grow, with the $100 billion in new investments expected at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, $15 billion at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and $30 billion for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Apart from the biggest prizes over the next decade, there is a diverse set of opportunities that can sustain a business in the coming years. For example, there are smaller but lucrative events that French companies can target through UBIFRANCE, including sales expositions in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and preparatory events in Saint Petersburg (Russia) for the 2018 World Cup, all in the next 12 months. Furthermore, existing markets are always in a state of flux and French companies with good products and services are being rewarded with new contracts. Bodet, an equipment manufacturer specializing in scoreboards and video screens, is a prime example. Even though this French company has been present in the Middle East for more than 30 years, it recently acquired new business from Al Jazeera Sport Studios and in relation to stadiums in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait City. While Ms Silberstein admits that, “The international sports-event market is extremely competitive,” it is also clear that many French companies, encouraged by expertise gained in their domestic market, are more than ready for the challenge. Besides, as she points out, “New opportunities and existing national markets will only grow over the next decade, with contracts that are so big that, if you have a small percentage of this contract, it is worth fighting for it.” In conclusion, it is clear that French-based companies are poised to continue with their off-the-pitch success in this competitive market.                                                            

French cybersecurity firms increasingly successful in fast-growing market

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 30-juil.-2014 12:05:53

  The 12% year-on-year increase in cybersecurity attacks that affected businesses in 2013 (Source: IBM 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index ), regrettable as it may be, translates into the fact that the IT-security sector is experiencing sustained growth in this segment of the market. High-profile cases, such as the cyber-attacks on US retail chain Target, have raised awareness among business executives.   While US-based and British companies dominate current business in this sector, client entities are looking for alternatives in order to alleviate their worries of government intrusion. In this respect, French specialist companies are a strong contender in the eyes of many professionals and executives working for SMEs and start-ups, but also at established, larger groups: these clients are leveraging the French know-how stemming from top R&D centres and universities.   In 2013, the French cybersecurity sector was valued at more than $2 billion. The French network-security sector offers a wide range of services, including B2B IT solutions meeting strategic challenges, and comprises many world champions such as Atos, Orange, Sogeti, Bull, Cassidian and the cybersecurity division at Thales.   Thanks to their advanced technical research laboratories, more particularly in cryptology and encryption, French players are recognized worldwide.  According to Thibaut Barde, UBIFRANCE’s Project Manager for HexaTrust label, which regroups 20 hi-tech SMEs that are keen to offer a co-ordinated, total service package to their clients.  T   > Electronics and IT   > Telecommunications and Space  

Tags: IT-security
Download: Cyber-Security

Billet– Intelligent Transportation Systems

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 20-juin-2014 10:11:16

The trend, across cities around the world, is for ever-higher densities in urban population. Benoît Perino, UBIFRANCE’s expert on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITSs), says that, once a city reaches a critical size (i.e. a population density of up to 20,000 people per square kilometre), urban mobility becomes a paramount issue. Public-sector authorities need to solve such issues as to how to manage road traffic flows, give commuters up-to-the-minute information, and run efficient back-office payment systems to make these essential services financially viable.  High tech makes a difference, and France has been a precursor in ITS technology for over 40 years now, designing and building ‘the future is now’ solutions. The ITS market in France is worth €4 .5 billion per year?, generating 45,000 jobs. Naturally, Paris is the premier showcase, although every major French city displays impressive achievements in urban transportation.   In Paris, the métro is being automated and ‘traditional’ tickets are on their way out, being replaced by dematerialized Near Field Electronic paid-entry systems such as Navigo that whisk passengers through the turnstiles. Navigo will soon to be deployed across Thalys services — the bullet train serving the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. One of the key players behind these ultra-efficient, yet complex, ticketing solutions is ERG Transit Systems SA — a specialist company capable of designing ITS ticketing systems for target groups of users ranging from 10,000 to 10 million passengers a day, in cities such as Hong Kong, Melbourne, Rome, Singapore, and maybe San Francisco soon.   Managing environmental impact and highway safety is a prime concern, and French technology has met another ITS challenge on its highways (the country’s autoroutes ), providing traffic reports and free-flow tollbooth collection (or ETC, for Electronic Tolling Collection). This complex mix of infrastructure and back-office consolidation of on-line toll collection works now in the United States, while respecting each individual state’s strenuous and complicated guidelines for toll-collection management, yet still designing a reliable, interoperable system that makes financial sense.   Systems have also been designed to identify licence plates on trucks in order to apply the eco-tax, as the vehicles pass under electronic sensory equipment. Obviously, a variant of this multi-mode system is equipment that checks for vehicles exceeding the speed limit, combined with the processing of massive volumes of data in order to properly assess fines.   French players have developed solutions that are environmentally and user friendly. Autolib , introduced by Blue Solutions, Bolloré SA’s subsidiary, has put up to 1,800 electric cars on the streets of Paris and its region (with 59 suburbs of the French capital included in the scheme) – an environmentally friendly initiative soon to be launched in Indianapolis (USA), where the scheme will be known as Speedy Car .   Any visitor to Paris has seen, or perhaps even used, Vélib’ bikes to get around. The Vélib’ scheme, launched and managed by JC Decaux SA in 2007, maintains a fleet of 17,000 bicycles used by an average of 85,810 riders every day and extends to over 30 suburbs. The running of the Vélib’ scheme requires real-time back-office management software and a convenient, yet secure payment system — always the prime ingredients for a successful ITS.   What about the role of UBIFRANCE, France’s export-support agency ? UBIFRANCE interacts with the key players in the sector, such ATEC ITS France ( www.atec-itsfrance.net ), a professional association that brings all the ITS industry together in order to shape the public debate and lobby in favour of future land-based transportation projects. Another important player is TOPOS, an association that is particularly active in the south-west of France ( www.tops-aquitaine.org ) and has a special interest in developing geo-localization in the transportation field. In fact, a highlight with an international dimension for the entire sector will be the World Congress for ITS in Bordeaux (in south-western France), to be held from 5 to 9 October 2014.   As Benoît Perino of UBIFRANCE sees it, “There is a high potential for ITS in France and internationally. There are a lot of French SMEs with great, highly advanced technologies. Our role at UBIFRANCE is to accompany them, so that they can meet local operators and authorities throughout the world and have their technology integrated into turnkey projects.”   Further information about French companies:   BMIA COMATIS LOGIROAD MIOS Other companies in the field of urban transport  

Tags: metro, Navigo

Sustainable urban development: Vivapolis is re-inventing the future for cities

Chutima CHANKUNASUKA - 16-juin-2014 10:15:27

Interview Caroline Olivier, Environment Project Manager - UBIFRANCE French know-how in providing solutions definitely has takers elsewhere in the world. Today, major cities throughout the world are searching for very specific expertise when it comes to developing, renewing and re-inventing themselves. France certainly has the high caliber players -- Bouygues, Vinci, Eiffage, Alstom, Veolia, Egis – to go along with innumerable SME positioned on very technological niche markets that respond to crucial challenges for tomorrow. Initiated by French public authorities, Vivapolis regroups the wide range of expertise French companies have to offer to meet the needs of cities all around the world. “Simply because it is always easier to focus attention on a name everyone can recognize,” explains Caroline Olivier, Environment Project Manager at Ubifrance. More than 70 French enterprises focused on sustainable cities have risen to the challenge by joining Vivapolis. Certified know-how Demonstrations of their know-how abound: whether it’s the Grand Paris, Grand Lyon, the Euro-Mediterranean project in Marseille, the Urban Community of Bordeaux, among other initiatives. For all of these sites, there are several issues that need to be faced: mobility, managing energy, pollution… One common thread shared by all of these urban development projects involves improving the quality of life and social cohesion in these cities to make them more attractive. Several ambitious projects have been started to develop responses. One key example is the Auto-Lib system in Paris to reduce circulation in the city with non-polluting electrical cars. Bordeaux Euratlantique, an extensive construction endeavor, reveals the wide scope of action Vivopolis is capable of. Relying especially on the development of eco-quarters, the project combines energetic efficiency, water recycling and a solar-energy plant. International markets lining up Vivapolis is ready for export. It’s already present in Morocco, where public authorities hope to benefit from French know-how to develop a new city of Chrafate in the region of Tanger-Tetouan. “They requested assistance from the French to help them carry out this ambitious project,” adds Caroline Olivier. The same thing is true for Turkey, with the youngest population in Europe. Turkish authorities expect French companies to help them integrate this youthful population more effectively in a cityscape that is constantly growing. As for China, its gigantic projects require showing up with turnkey proposals. Over the past 10 years, France has already carried out more than 200 projects in approximately fifty Chinese cities. Another highlight is the French eco-quarter that is going to be built in the Tiexi district in Shenyang. Alstom and its joint-venture, Satée, won a deal amounting to € 75 Million to provide locomotives for 550 wagons on Subway Lines 3 and 4 in Chengdu, the 5 th largest city in China. For Caroline Olivier, “Vivapolis involves a large number of French companies working on sustainable cities,” responding to key issues in urbanization for emerging countries as well as for renewal of major cosmopolitan areas worldwide. The latest scoop for Vivapolis ? France is getting cutting-edge, using state of the art technologies, proposing 3D simulations for these international projects to allow deciders to visualize different possibilities for a quarter or city. These virtual scale models showcase all of Vivapolis’ partners and their specializations. It is now being tested for initiatives in Astana and Santiago in Chile.   More information : Vivapolis powered by French creativity Cities : a collective adventure Directory of French companies

Tags: Vivapolis
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  UBIFRANCE THAILAND, THE TRADE COMMISSION OF THE FRENCH EMBASSY   Charn Issara Tower, 25th Floor, 942 Rama IV Rd., GPO Box 1394, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 66 (0) 2352 4100 Fax: 66 (0) 2237 6162 E-mail: bangkok@ubifrance.fr Blog: www.ubifrance.com/th   UBIFRANCE , the French agency for international business development, comes under the aegis of France’s Ministry for the Economy, Industry & Employment. UBIFRANCE lies at the heart of France’s public-sector export-support framework. With 80 Trade Commissions in 60 countries, UBIFRANCE offers a comprehensive range of products and services aimed at accompanying French-based companies in their development on expert markets: ▪ Knowledge-based products and services, from business information to consultancy and monitoring services, in order to help companies elaborate a strategy for international expansion

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