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Hauts-de-France ranked France’s 2nd-most attractive region in 2018

05 Apr 2019 | Front page, A region on the move, Investment

Once again, Hauts-de-France took high honors for foreign direct investment, ranking No. 2 in France for jobs and No. 1 for industrial projects. Learn more about our region’s attractiveness for business from the top results of the 2018 Business France survey.

“This is a record number of jobs for our region! It reflects our powerful assets: a strategic location, abundant land and a pro-business ecosystem. We’re working hand in hand with all of our fellow stakeholders—including local communities and the French State—with a single obsession: develop our region and create jobs!”
Xavier Bertrand, Chairman of the Hauts-de-France Regional Council

Hauts-de-France takes three spots in France’s Top 3 listings for 2018

1. No. 2 region nationwide for jobs, with 5,266 jobs created or preserved

Hauts-de-France was the country’s second-most attractive region for jobs created or preserved by foreign investment, just behind the Paris Region.

The total came to 5,266 jobs—a 4.5% increase over 2018. And of this, new positions accounted for 92%.

2. No. 1 French region for industry

Hauts-de-France continues to lead the nation for industry, with one in six industrial jobs created or maintained here.

3. No. 3 French region by number of projects

Driven by an 18.5% increase and 115 successful projects, the region climbed two spots in the national ranking and now places third.

“This strong showing reflects the thorough spadework done by the teams at Nord France Invest and in regional government, as well as the involvement of local players. The energy and drive of Hauts-de-France is plain to see, and it’s restoring us to our historic position as a major European region.”
Luc Doublet, Chairman, Nord France Invest

A vibrant commercial sector

The commercial sector often runs neck-and-neck with industry, and in 2018 it took the lead in the jobs category. Altogether, Hauts-de-France generated 3,384 commercial positions, accounting for 64% of all jobs created or preserved in the region last year.

E-commerce and distribution made a big contribution to this strong showing, with a total of 1,334 jobs.

Foreign companies feel at home in Hauts-de-France

And they prove it with repeat investments. In 2018 we saw a sharp 29% increase in the number of foreign companies who expanded their existing presence in the region. This was true not only for industrial companies such as Bombardier, Toyota, ArcelorMittal, Procter & Gamble and Refresco, but also for commercial players such as Booking.com, Amazon, Conduent and Adecco. Expansions accounted for 3,669 positions, or 70% of all jobs.

Meanwhile, all-new projects were up 24%—a significant contribution to the region’s overall performance—and acquisitions of struggling companies were down.

US tops the list of investor countries

The United States was once again the No. 1 investor country, with 1,855 jobs, or 35% of the total for 2018. This figure reflects the growth of major US businesses already established in the region, as well as repeat investments by such giants as Amazon and Coca-Cola.

Switzerland ranked No. 2 for number of jobs created or preserved, thanks largely to two projects: Schmolz + Bickenbach’s acquisition of Ascometal in Leffrinckoucke and Adecco’s expansion of its various subsidiaries.

Behind the US and Switzerland was a cluster of four countries—Canada, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom—each of which created or preserved an average 459 jobs.

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