Breakthrough technologies: 5 assets of France

Of the ten major technological transformations identified by McKinsey, France is not faring too badly. According to the firm, the position of France on five of them is quite favorable.

Biotechnology is perhaps the one in which the country has more assets. Along with Germany and the UK, France is one of the three largest European hubs. “Three countries alone account for 50% of the continent’s biotech companies,” the study says. A sign of the good health of the sector is that the number of blue-white-red biotechs receiving funding has grown from 12% in the period 2015-2017 to 16% in the period 2018-2020. Active in the sector for ten years, Bpifrance aims to fund 500 healthcare startups a year, up from 200 today.

With over 80 laboratories and 500 start-ups, France is also a leading European investor in artificial intelligence (AI). From the very beginning of his mandate, Emmanuel Macron launched a national AI strategy, today allocated 1.9 billion euros (300 million more than the Germans), with the goal of capturing 15% of the global AI market. operations) by 2025. A market that, according to another study by McKinsey, could add €10 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

Second revolution. In quantum computing, France also has a chance to play the card after announcing in January 2021 a €1.8 billion plan over five years. Thus, France is in second place in Europe after Germany, which will invest 2.6 billion euros in its program. Amounts that, however, remain very far from the $10 billion announced by China for its national quantum laboratory. It’s also less than in the United States, where the federal administration has pledged $1.2 billion between 2018 and 2023, but where Google, IBM, Microsoft and Amazon are pouring billions into research. But France can also count on companies like Thales, which is “aiming to become a global leader in the second quantum revolution by investing heavily in quantum sensors, quantum communications and post-quantum cryptography,” McKinsey emphasizes.

France is also rich in scientific publications related to 5G, ranking tenth in the world and fifth in Europe. One of the eight patents filed in Europe for this technology is of French origin. Unfortunately, France disappears from the radar when it comes to going global. Indeed, no French company is among the world leaders in triple patents, these patents are filed in three main offices: the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office. (USPTO).

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another sector in which France is quite well positioned. Before the crisis, it ranked third among European countries after Germany and the UK in terms of the number of patent applications in this area (3100) and eighth in the world.

Finally clean technology. “While Europe has the highest share of renewables in installed electrical capacity (50% in 2020 compared to 41% in China and 25% in the US), France has the third renewable energy park in the area,” reminds McKinsey. According to the France Invest Cleantech Financing Barometer, French companies raised €1.2 billion in France in 2019, up from €263 million in 2010, making France third in Europe after France. transition. The whole challenge for the executive now is to capitalize on these five pillars to make up for the delay accumulated in terms of new technologies over the past ten years.