Research work on French Culture
France as a country has a population of approximately 58 million people and is one of the largest West European country, approximately 4/5 the size of Texas. France does not have an official religion, but the majority of French citizens are Roman Catholic. France is home to approximately 4.5 million foreigners many of whom are from other European countries or former Communist countries. Education is of great importance to the French as it is considered as a key element of success. This is demonstrated by the fact that the educational system is almost free of charge from the primary school through the Ph.D. level for French citizens (France Business Etiquette, 1998). According to the Geert Hofstede analysis for France illustrates the importance on uncertainty avoidance. The high uncertainty avoidance ranking indicates France’s concerns for rules, regulations, and issues with career security. In addition to uncertainty avoidance, both individualism and power distance are also ranked fairly high, with masculinity ranking the lowest (Geert-hofstede, 1973).
Doing Business in France (Business etiquettes) In France, the quick handshake is common form of greeting. Often, friends may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks, once on the left cheek and once on the right cheek. When doing business in France, first names are used only after being invited to do so. Moreover, the French give information on people based on their appearance because your business attire is a reflection of your success and social status. Furthermore, appointment is necessary and should be made at 2weeks in advance. They do not try to schedule meeting during July or August, at this is a common vacation period and in particular meetings are to discuss issues, not to make decision (International business etiquette France). When doing business with French, especially in a meeting, people always remains polite and courteous at all the time and avoid personal question. A negotiation become very passionate, especially argument is not meant to be confrontational but an opportunity to exchange viewpoints. People in a negotiation often maintain direct eye contact while speaking.
France is a multi-party country, the main political parties include Union pour un Mouvement Populaire，Parti Socialiste，Les Verts，Nouveau Centre，MoDem，Parti Communiste Français Front National and some other parties. The current ruling party is Union pour un Mouvement Populaire. The current Fifth Republic Constitution is by referendum in 1958 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China 2012). Metropolitan France divided into 22 regions, 96 provinces. There are also four overseas region province, six overseas districts and a special status of overseas possessions (CIA 2011).
Because the influence of GFC, the GDP growth rate in 2010 is 1.7%, the real GDP in 2010 is 1.94578 trillion Euros. Total imports and exports in 2010 is € 1.0273 trillion, at the same period, the public budget deficit is 144.8 billion Euros, accounting for 7.65 % of GDP. The unemployment rate is 9.7% (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China 2012).
The population of France is 65.027 million in 2011, the metropolitan territory population of 62.79 million. The official language in France is French, in local residents, 64% are Catholic, 3% are Muslim, 2.1% are Protestant, 0.6 % are Jewish, and 27% of them claiming no religious belief (CIA 2011). France is a high welfare state, various types of social security expenditure is 570.4 billion Euros in 2008. Currently, France has 54,875 primary schools, 7919 secondary schools, 83 universities and 226 prestigious schools (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China 2012). The literacy rate in 2011 is 99% (Index mundi 2011).
France is one of the most developed industrial countries. It is the world leader in nuclear power, aviation, aerospace, and rail. Transport facilities, water, land and air transportation are very convenient. Energy mainly relies on nuclear energy, about 78% of electricity supported by nuclear energy (Index mundi 2011). Nuclear power equipment, petroleum processing technology are after the United States, ranking second in the world. Aviation and aerospace industry are after the United States and Russia, ranking third in the world (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China 2012).
The French economy is exceptionally diversified and is one of the largest economies in the EU, as a result it offers an attractive option for investment for rest of the world. However, recently in light of the recent economic crises several issues within the economy, comprises of public deficit and high levels of unemployment are growing concerns (Austrade).
France is based on three major industries, agriculture, manufacturing and the service sector. The 2009 – 09 Global Financial Crises had a significant impact on the French economy, which accounted for an A$34 billion government stimulus package in response to the crises. Unemployment is on the rise in France, as it was 9.8 percent in 2010 (austrade). As a result of recent crises, the government announced increased taxes and over 100,000 loss of jobs in the public sector.
France is a Parliamentray democracy with a President elected by universal suffrage for a period of five years. Nicolaz Sarkozy who is the present President of France was elected as the seventh President of the fifth republic in May 2007. After electing Sarkozy as the head of the State, French voters endorsed the wide ranging program, of reforms that were the focal point of Sarkozy’s campaign.
In EU (European Union) France is considered as a powerful member, as it holds strong ties with other European countries. France plays a very significant role in Africa, through its former colonies, by providing extensive aid programs, fostering commercial and military activities. In recent times, France has becomes as increasingly important source of direct investment and technology, most importantly in the defense sector. For Australia, France is its 7th largest source of foreign direct investment (Austrade.gov.au).
Despite all the cultural difference and barriers France is still a country that can be targeted for expanding any business, regional and ethnic differences combine to create a multitude of smaller markets in France. Many of these are potential targets for small and medium-sized companies whose niche products can often find a ready market. The increasing amount of leisure time available to the French following the introduction of the 35-hour working week has opened up new opportunities for outdoor and leisure products. French people are very welcoming and love to work with other people, in business the French language is preferred, although there is a growing use of English, that helped a lot of international companies to operate in France.