Macron woos tech world, pledges French 'startup nation'

Features Associated Press

French President Emmanuel Macron is shaking hands with robots and encouraging entrepreneurs as he unveils his strategy to transform the country from a land resting on the laurels of its past into a "startup nation."

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It won't be an easy transition, but it's a pillar of Macron's vision for reinvigorating the world's sixth-largest economy.

Macron is laying out his plans Thursday at a Paris gadget show called Vivatech, where he chatted with a robot in English and is meeting entrepreneurs whose startups measure pollution neighborhood-by-neighborhood or use artificial intelligence to predict which buses or subway trains have available seats.

His strategy includes special visas to attract innovative brains from other countries, and reducing French labor protections to encourage investment, which worries unions and traditional workers.

While he wants tech investment he also wants to pressure online giants like Google to pay taxes in countries where they make money.