Market Commentary

France's Ambitious AI Aspirations Spotlighted at Viva Tech Conf

Jahanzeb Salam
31 May 2024 · 1 minute read

With AI becoming a core front where dominance is proving to be a necessity, France is positioning itself as a leading force in artificial intelligence. 

The recent “Viva Technology Conference” in Paris showcased this progress, highlighting the French AI firm H, which raised $220 million from investors like Amazon (AMZN:US) and former Google (GOOGL:US) CEO Eric Schmidt. Many French AI firms are attracting investments from U.S. tech giants. Microsoft (MSFT:US) recently announced a €4 billion ($4.4 billion) investment in France, the largest ever in the country.

At Viva Tech, AI was a major focus, featuring an "AI Avenue" with companies like Salesforce (CRM:US) and AWS. L’Oreal (LRLCY:US) introduced an AI-powered beauty assistant called "BeautyGenius." The conference's success is key to France's goal of becoming a major tech and AI hub, rivaling the U.S. and China.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire emphasized developing homegrown AI, despite help from U.S. tech firms. France's strong AI research ecosystem includes Meta’s (META:US) Facebook AI Research Center and Google’s (GOOGL:US) AI hub in Paris, as well as top universities. Etienne Grass of Capgemini Invent highlighted France's dynamic innovation scene and significant AI advancements.

President Emmanuel Macron stated that France leads Europe's tech industry but acknowledged it lags behind the U.S. He emphasized the need for more significant players and praised French AI firms like Mistral and H. President Macron also met with tech leaders, including Eric Schmidt and Yann LeCun, to discuss making Paris a global AI hub. 

While companies are focusing on diversifying their positioning in the AI domain, multiple congress members were also seen positioning themselves in the AI and tech-related stocks.