PARIS – The French apprehend the Chinese power and struggle to qualify the Franco-Chinese relations, hesitating between the threat and the opportunity that represents the China, revealed a survey conducted by Kantar Public for the Montaigne Institute.
If China is less perceived as an opponent (31% of responses) than the United States (35%) or Russia (44%), the French respondents are between 30 and 50%, depending on the areas (diplomatic , technological, economic), to choose a "neutral" answer to the question of whether China is above all an opportunity or a threat to France, explains the study published by the Montaigne Institute.
However, 47% of the French believe that China is "influential" in France, 13% "very influential", while 81% of respondents say that China is influential in the world: 28% judge the influence Chinese "very strong" and 53% "rather strong".
When China is mentioned, the French think much more about the economic aspect. They are 33% spontaneously referring to the economy, before environmental issues (24%) and the influence of China in the world (23%).
According to the Montaigne Institute, the images of a rising power, endowed with high growth rates and engaged in a strategy of conquest, now appear in the French imagination that no longer considers China a developing country.
Regarding bilateral relations, 78% are satisfied with the Chinese contribution in France (53% consider it "rather positive", 25% "very positive").
In terms of tourism, the Chinese are among the most expensive visitors with 3,400 euros per person and per trip on average.
As a reminder, the Chinese were 2 million to visit France in 2017, an increase compared to 2016. To this end, 83.7% of those surveyed think positively their contribution to the tourism sector.
Regarding Chinese investments in France, 50% of respondents have a negative perception (17% "very negative", 33% "rather negative"), believing that China is an economic and technological threat .
Moreover, the French perceive their own country as already outdated in the technological and digital fields, says the survey that states that for 47% of respondents, China is "ahead of France" and only 19% think the opposite.
It must also be remembered that 50% of global investments in the artificial intelligence sector are made in China, a country that has made robotics one of its priorities.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to invest $ 150 billion in "chips,"
China injected $ 1 billion (or 2% of incoming direct investment) into France in 2017, and in the first half of 2018 this envelope was exceeded by $ 200 million.