Paris, January 23: The big daddies of internet Google and Facebook unveiled significant investments in France in a vote of confidence for the country’s thriving tech scene and President Emmanuel Macron’s push to lure foreign investment.
The search group plans to open a new artificial intelligence center in France within weeks, its second in Europe after Zurich. The move is part of efforts to increase its number of staff in Paris by 50 percent, with plans to add 360 staff to its 700-person-strong office by the end of 2019 at the latest.
Facebook has announced it is to train 65,000 French people in digital skills as part of a series of free schemes to help women set up businesses and the long-term unemployed get back to work. The social media giant will also invest an additional 10 million euros into artificial intelligence in France by 2022, its statement said.
“According to the European Commission, France ranks just 16th in the EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index. Yet France has all the assets to succeed. It has top engineers, great entrepreneurs, one of the best education systems in the world, great infrastructure, and successful global companies. Studies suggest that if France fully seized its digital potential, it could earn up to 10 percent of GDP from digital technology by 2025, creating 200-250 billion euros’ worth of additional value per year” says Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google Inc.