FRANCE: The digital economy accounts for nearly 5 percent of France’s GDP, but a study published in May 2011 by Rexecode claims it is responsible for 25 percent of growth, 3 percent of jobs and 16 percent of investments in the French economy.
The digital value chain revolves around data centers. These centers lie at the crossroads of technology and industry (infrastructures, digital economy, real estate and energy, products of the digital economy). Henceforth, in addition to meeting high availability requirements, they will also have to be energy efficient as well (PUE: Power Usage Effectiveness).
The business climate in France is ripe for expansion in this sector, which is recognized for its highly skilled engineers and technicians as well as its secure electricity supply. French legislation (the "Computing and Freedoms Act" and the legislation on data encryption, the "Confidence in the Digital Economy Act") provides for data protection and data processing by satisfying the sector's legal security requirements.
Major multinationals, including IBM, Interxion, Telecity, Interoute, Telehouse and Equinix, have made investments in the French market worth an estimated €1 billion per year. Since 2006, the Invest in France Agency (IFA) has supported 16 data center investment projects in the country. The market's strong performance can be seen by large French operators like Orange France Telecom and Atos opening data centers in France and abroad.
IBM has recently opened several new data centers in France. In 2010, an existing facility in Seclin recently acquired by the American giant was fully renovated into a 10,000 sq. m. hosting center.
Also in 2010, Japanese firm KDDI Telehouse opened a 15,000 sq. m. data center called Telehouse Paris Magny in Magny-les-Hameaux (Ile de France region). This is the third center it has opened in France, following Jeuneurs in central Paris in 1996 and Voltaire in surburban Paris in 1999. These Telehouse Europe facilities service 60 telecommunications providers in addition to the 350 other businesses which cover France's main internet exchanges and built most of the infrastructure that France's IT systems depend on to operate.
GE Energie has just installed a data storage center at its Belfort site. Primarily designed to accommodate the computing needs of its 400 engineers, the investment has turned Belfort into GE Energie Europe's IT nerve center.
David Appia, chairman and CEO of the Invest in France Agency (IFA), says: “The financial advantages of setting up in France, coupled with high skill levels and exemplary legislation, particularly regarding data protection, are the best kind of guarantees international investors can hope for. The IFA is here to help them make their IT projects a reality.”