France announces state-backed investment fund for AI technologies

France announces state-backed investment fund for AI technologies

Emmanuel Macron will today announce an investment plan to transform France into an artificial intelligence “start-up nation” in a bid

EU summit in Brussels

Photo: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Emmanuel Macron will today announce an investment plan to transform France into an artificial intelligence “start-up nation” in a bid to push French firms to compete with American and Chinese counterparts.

With global investors pouring over $10.8 billion into AI and machine teaching companies in 2017 alone, Mr Macron has described the need to invest as an “arms race,” which he has linked to the economic security of France.

France has a robust start-up scene, with companies like Angus.Ai, Asgard.AI and Craft.AI, proving capable of raising funds—Craft.AI, for example, raising about $1.2 million for R&D in 2017 alone.

Mr Macron intends on making France a global leader in AI technologies by toughening his stance on taxation of foreign companies operating in France. Mr Macron believes stricter enforcement will discourage foreign-based AI tech firms from directly competing with French start-ups or subcontracting them. For Mr Macron’s ambitious plan to succeed though, he will need to not only discourage foreign penetration into the French AI market but must simultaneously take measures—tax relief for start-ups as an example—to promote burgeoning industries on French soil.

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