Monday, February 13, 2012 | 9:57 AM
Over the past few years, we have made extensive investments in France, recognizing how the country’s Internet economy is booming. Our Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently inaugurated, in the presence of President Nicolas Sarkozy, a new 10,000-square meter office in a refurbished 19th century Second Empire building near the St. Lazare Train Station.
In recognition of these moves, the Greater Paris Investment Agency this month awarded Google its prize of the international investor of the year. Valérie Pécresse, Minister for the Budget, Public Accounts and State Reform presented the prize to Susan Pointer, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, Southern & Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Our efforts in France go far beyond new buildings. We’re encouraging French start-ups by creating a Startup Café, an online platform offering information and tools required by entrepreneurs to launch a business. We’re investing in French startups, creating a platform for content and tools.expanding our engineering presence to take advantage of France’s strong engineering talent pool and are making significant academic investments, including a partnership with the French national research center CNRS and the creation of a Google Chair at HEC.
The new Paris headquarters houses a cultural institute which aims to leverage digital technologies to expand access to cultural treasures around the world. Last year, the number of Googlers in France has doubled to nearly 400 employees, and we are continuing to hire. In the future, more and more products will Google "made in France"!
All of this is just the beginning of what we are sure will be a long love affair with France and its capital.