France is more than just a top destination for travellers, famous for fine wine, culture, cheese and luxury brands. As the seventh largest global economy and the second largest in the European Union (EU), France is a major player on the world stage and a fulcrum for international business. The country is a termination point for many subsea cables from Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, making it a key gateway for connecting these markets to Europe via low-latency connections.
Paris, the capital of France, is Europe’s largest market by gross domestic product (GDP) and the fifth largest in the world.[i] After Tokyo, Paris hosts more multinational headquarters than any other city in the world, including many of the Global Fortune 500. The city is also a strategic hub for French internet traffic and the exchange of traffic between Europe and the U.S. Unsurprisingly, this is driving growth in interconnection, or the direct exchange of traffic between key business partners. The Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 4, an annual market study published by Equinix, predicts that interconnection bandwidth capacity in Paris will grow at a 48% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, outpacing the European growth rate of 45% CAGR. The GXI tracks, measures and forecasts the growth of installed interconnection bandwidth globally. It also provides an inside view into what’s happening with digital adoption across service providers, enterprises and multiple industries.
GXI Volume 4
GXI Vol. 4 tracks shifts in the digital economy and their impacts on digital business. Explore how leaders use their digital infrastructure to fuel growth, where it’s happening and how you can use interconnection to stay competitive.Learn More
Digital transformation in France is cautiously accelerating
Despite these impressive advantages, from a cultural point of view, France tends not to be an early adopter but easily catches up once a trend is established. Stringent data protection regulations, which have slowed digital progress for other European countries, have also been a factor for France. In fact, the French data protection law, which dates back to 1978, is said to have inspired the European Union (EU) Directive on personal data protection.[ii] More recently France and the Netherlands have upped the ante by proposing stricter EU rules for overseeing large technology firms, focusing on access to data and services as well as interoperability.[iii]
That being said, the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought every country to a full lockdown, highlighted the importance of having a digital strategy. Organizations who had digital infrastructure in place were significantly better equipped to weather the disruption and pivot quickly to new ways of socially-distant engagement and interaction. In recognition of this, France has undertaken a number of initiatives to accelerate digital transformation, including providing digital tools and services for businesses, educators, healthcare providers and citizens. Moreover, the French government just unveiled a massive stimulus package, of which $8.4 billion (€7 billion) will be allocated to digital investments.[iv]
A closer look at how France is fast-tracking digital and interconnection
As companies in France adapt to the new normal, we are seeing three categories of organizations that are now fast-tracking their adoption of digital infrastructures and interconnection:
- Businesses that saw digital demand increase during the pandemic, such as online gaming companies.
- Leaders that had the capital to invest in digital transformation and change their IT architecture to better adapt to the current situation, such as financial services (banks, insurance) and luxury retail, which is unique to France.
- Public and private organizations that had to reinvent themselves such as healthcare, government and education to advance their digital-readiness.
And, the large French multinationals that were already driving interconnection growth are also expanding. Unlike other economies that are fueled by small-medium businesses, the French economy is built around national champions like L’Oreal, AXA or Michelin, many of which are at the top of their respective industries, and the CAC 40 stock index is comprised of the 40 largest of these companies.
Multi-region companies like these require a global interconnected platform such as Platform Equinix® to expand their reach into metro markets throughout Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. As a result, France is one of the top countries on Platform Equinix from which multinationals are expanding their market presence by interconnecting to partners and customers in other Platform Equinix locations.
Other interconnection trends in France include:
- Over 1,000 companies are part of the Equinix Paris ecosystem, including 240+ networks, 315+ cloud and IT service providers, 110+ content and digital media companies and 85+ financial services firms.
- There are over 18,600 cross-connects across the eight fiber-connected Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers in Paris. When looking at who connects to whom, according to the GXI Vol. 4, interconnecting to networks and clouds has the largest share, followed by interconnecting to Equinix.
Digital leadership comes from interconnection
Digital leaders are accelerating their business advantage by harnessing digital infrastructure and interconnection on Platform Equinix®. One example is Docaposte, an IT services subsidiary of the French postal service, who wanted to move away from managing its own data centers. Shifting its IT architecture to Platform Equinix, closer to users, clouds and networks, provided Docaposte with a digital infrastructure that was more dynamic, secure, scalable and interconnected with the 23,000 companies it does business with. As a result, Docaposte is able to focus more on innovation and expanding its digital services.
To learn more about how you can benchmark your digital-readiness against today’s digital leaders and grow your strategic advantage, read the Global Interconnection Index Volume 4.
You may also be interested in reading:
(eBook) Powering Digital Leaders: Harnessing Your Digital Infrastructure to Gain Business Advantage
[i] Wikipedia, List of cities by GDP, last updated Oct 2020.
[ii] Library of Congress, Online Privacy Law: France.
[iii] CNBC, France and the Netherlands call for tough EU powers to curb Big Tech, Oct 2020.
[iv] EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2020: France; Tech Crunch, France to spend $8.4 billion on digital as part of stimulus plan, Sept 2020.