Germany, Holland, Poland, Korea, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, China, Turkey, Italy and Brazil. France has the 9th highest number of Internet users in the world, with 26.8 million. It has an Internet penetration of 44%, putting it below countries like the US, UK and Germany (all of which are over 60%). But France is similar to its neighbors Italy and Spain, which are both in the 40-50% range for Internet penetration. Perhaps more significant is the number of French language speakers on the Web, which is estimated to be 4.4% of all Internet users - or 45.8 Million. However that's only an estimated 12% of all French speakers, so there is plenty of room for growth there.Next in our series on international Web markets is France. Other countries profiled so far have been
Overview of French Market
When I think of France and the Web, I think of Netvibes (the Personalized Start Page used by 5 million people according to recent reports), Kelkoo (the price comparison engine sold to yahoo), and Jeff Clavier (not a web app, but a French angel investor!). But obviously there is much more to the French Web, so I asked Thomas to tell me more...
R/WW: Do most people use French web apps/sites instead of the US ones?
Thomas: Not really, except for news websites. For example newspaper websites like LeMonde, Liberation and LeFigaro. There are also many internet and IT-focused websites like 01net. All of those sites are in french. The typical french person is not used to reading or talking in english, unlike in Germany, Netherlands and the nordic countries. There is also french version of Techcrunch.
R/WW: Do the big companies have French language versions of their products? (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft etc)
Thomas: Google is the number 1 website in France and the other big companies like msn, yahoo are also very well used in France. For example their email services are well used. They all have a french version (which they must do to target the french market). MSN Messenger is the number 1 IM service (AIM is not very well used here). The french versions of amazon and eBay are also very famous here.
R/WW: What are the biggest Web companies in France?
Thomas: I'm not sure, but meetic is number 1 as far as turnover is concerned (it's a dating site). And it's started to spread around Europe. There is also priceminister and 2xmoinscher, were people can sells second-hand stuffs (it's a kind of eBay without the auction concept).
The biggest e-shops are Cdiscount.com and Rueducommerce, were you can find anything (buying on the internet is now common in france, even for my mother!). Lastminute.com is the number 1 travel site. There is also kelkoo, a "price comparer" created by Pierre Chappaz and sold to Yahoo for millions.
Thomas' Top Web Apps
Zlio: a kind of Loomia or MyPickList, which goes further in enabling you to create your own shop online (here is mine). Thus it's a "smart clone", by cloning and then innovating further... isn't it innovation ? ;-) [Richard: yes, definitely!]
Wikio: made by the ex-ceo and founder of kelkoo. It's a kind of digg-like in french, with many technical and financial features. Chappaz is a "VIP" in the "net-economie", with a weekly tribune in liberation, a big french newspaper - so there's been a lot of buzz on wikio.
LaFraise: created by a guy from Ubisoft, it's a clone of threadless but it's taking over and becoming international. Personaly I prefer lafraise to threadless, which doesn't have the same "graphical spirit".
Podemus: a podcasting reference founded by Bertrand Lenotre, it could be compared to odeo but it includes video.
Jean-Pierre's List of French Web Apps
http://www.wikio.fr/: the main french digg clone (see above)
http://www.scoopeo.com/: another french language digg clone [update: Scoopeo is from Belgium, not France]
http://fuzz.fr/: digg clone
Photos and Videos
http://www.fotolia.fr/: photo site
http://www.dailymotion.com/: watching/publishing/sharing videos
http://www.criteo.com/films.aspx: films and videos
http://www.eyeka.com/: photo and video sharing
http://www.kewego.fr/: video sharing
http://www.skema.fr/: video solutions
http://www.atafoto.com/: online shared photo book
Social Networks / Blogs / Bookmarking
http://www.6nergies.net/: professional social network
http://www.linkedfeed.com/: automated and customizable information social network
http://www.yoono.com/: rss reader/integrated social book marking
http://www.widiwici.com/index.php: Sport exploits, information sharing, challenges
http://www.blogspirit.com/fr/index.php: professional online blogs service
http://www.agoravox.fr/: citizen media
http://www.i-maginer.fr/: real-time 3D web services
http://www.netvibes.com/: personalized start page
http://www.kartoo.com/flash.php3: meta search engine
http://www.zlio.com/: « tupperware » like website (see above)
http://www.uneinvitation.com/: leisure organization platform
http://www.jamendo.com/fr/: music online
http://www.bluekiwi.fr/: intranet solution?
Top visited French specific websites
http://orange.fr/: top french telecom provider’s website
http://free.fr/: second-placed telecom provider’s website
http://www.voila.fr/: dating, chat website
http://www.mappy.com/: road and travel guide
http://www.fnac.com/: big French ebusiness website
http://www.boursorama.com/: first stock exchange website
http://www.skyrock.com/front/index.php: Skyrock radio’s website
As always, please leave a comment if we've missed something or you have more information about the French Web market. Thanks again to Thomas and Jean-Pierre for the details in this post!
Update: based on comments below, here are some additions. Apologies to those we missed out first time round...
- I completely forgot that Personalized Start Page Webwag is French, even though I profiled it recently!
- skyblog.com, the largest "blog" and social network in France currently (thanks ouriel from Techcrunch France, who also pointed to their special tag for French web apps.
- http://wecheese.com, another social network (thanks Paul Monnet)
- vpod.tv (video sharing), viaduc (french LinkedIn), photoways (photo printing and related services) -- via Jeff Clavier
- http://www.xwiki.com (Collaborative Intranets / Wiki solutions)
- http://www.geoportail.fr (A kind of Google Earth)
- http://v3d.pagesjaunes.fr (2 french cities - Paris & Rennes - in 3D)
- French Search Engines: http://www.kartoo.com and http://www.exalead.com -- all these suggested by Ronan / Business Garden
- http://www.xfruits.com (RSS service)
- http://www.blogmemes.fr (digg-like in an international network)
- http://www.framasoft.net (open source directory) -- thanks Clea
- http://www.visualkit.com. -- thks Laure
- JobMeeters -- thks Julien