China: exchanging among French high-tech businesses (April 15, 2015)


The R&D Club is a forum for exchange between high-tech French businesses in China, run by the scientific department of the French Embassy in China, in partnership with the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (CCIFC).

To date, the Club has met over 80 times in four Chinese regions (Beijing, Shanghai, South China, Wuhan), with a structure and a pace tailored to each region. The meetings generally take the form of one or several presentations carried out by external speakers on issues of common interest (RD financing, intellectual property, research partnerships, etc.) followed by discussions between participants.

Objectives: to inform, encourage shared experiences and promote French businesses

  • to inform French high-tech businesses of the Chinese situation as regards research, development and innovation (RDI);
  • to encourage shared experiences between French actors, in particular for SMEs and new companies in the RDI sector in China;
  • to promote French high-techs in China, e.g. by publishing a French-Chinese business directory.

Actors and partnerships forged

The French Embassy in China is working on defining themes, inviting speakers, chairing debates and organizing the schedule.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce is responsible for hosting meetings, organizing special events (dinners, cocktails, etc.) within the framework of the RD Club, etc.

The R&D Club: an easily replicable model

The R&D Club is a unique link between the Embassy, French researchers involved in cooperation and the community of French high-tech businesses in China. It ideally complements the other cooperation and exchange tools implemented by the Embassy. The Health Club, launched by Ubifrance in 2013, has adopted quite a similar structure and operational model. The R&D Club model can easily be adapted to any country with a record of scientific excellence. A similar Club was created in India.

The R&D Club is particularly useful in countries where local legislation and policies in the field are not always easy to follow for newcomers. In addition, the meetings require a certain “critical mass” of businesses which are directly involved in RD activities.

Looking to the future

Since 2008, with the launch of the RD Club in Beijing, there have been several meetings with the support of partners. As the French community grows and demand increases, the RD Club could meet in new cities, in the west and north-east of the country.

Useful websites:

Next week, ’Our innovative network’ will discuss digital technology in Estonia