PARIS – In 2005, as China and India experienced rapid growth as low-cost players in the global economy, the French government could see the writing on the wall. To compete with these emerging economic superpowers, French companies would need to step up their game. The government announced a plan to spend €1.5 billion ($2.2 billion) over three years to form “clusters” of high-tech expertise that would allow French companies to collaborate with each other and university researchers so ...

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