[Overview] Situated in northern France, Île-de-France is one of the 13 regions in France, with a population of 12.14 million in an area of 12,012 square kilometers.
[Politics] Île-de-France is made up of Paris, the country's capital city, as well as seven departments including Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Yvelines, Val-d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne, and Essonne and has jurisdiction over 1,276 communes. Paris is both a city and a department. Due to its special status, Paris is not subordinate to but independent of Île-de-France.
Île-de-France is governed by the Regional Council, the government elected by the Regional Council, and the advisory councils. Members of the Regional Council are directly elected by universal suffrage and the number of members is determined by the population of the region. Except when changes are made to the Electoral Law, the term of office of Regional Council members is generally six years. The President of the Regional Council, elected by its members by absolute majority, is responsible for preparing and executing the decisions of the regional assembly, managing the assets, referring matters to the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, managing the regional administration, and chairing the standing committee. The regional government is represented by the President of the Regional Council and has an executive consisting of the President and 15 Vice-Presidents. Functional departments of the regional government are responsible for implementing the regional policies. The regional advisory councils, including the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, the Youth Advisory Council and the Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, are responsible for consulting the citizens of the region on relevant issues and notifying them of relevant resolutions of the region. The incumbent President of the Regional Council, Valérie Pécresse, took office in December 2015.
[Economy] Île-de-France is the economic center of France. In Europe, its economic status is second only to London, and it ranks first among all regions in Europe by the number of Fortune 500 companies. Île-de-France has a highly diversified economy and the region's pillar industries include aviation, aerospace and defense, automotive, business services, smart cities, financial services, insurance, and information technology. Île-de-France has the most developed agricultural product processing industry in France. More than 50% of the land in the region is used for agricultural purposes. It is a large producer of grains, beans and sugar beets. Île-de-France has well-developed infrastructure, including expressways, high-speed railways and air transportation, as well as a sound public transportation system.
[Culture and Education] Île-de-France has diverse cultural heritage and there are about 4,000 historical sites in the region, including four UNESCO World Heritage sites – the Palace and Park of Versailles, the Palace and Park of Fontainebleau, the Banks of the Seine River, and Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs. The region regularly holds various cultural activities. There are many museums, cinemas, opera houses, and cultural institutions in the region. Île-de-France has rich educational resources. It is home to many of the world's top research universities, business schools, and engineering and vocational colleges. Île-de-France is also a popular tourist destination. It receives 50 million tourists from across the world every year, making it one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
[Relations with Beijing] On July 2, 1987, Beijing and Île-de-France established a sister city relationship. On June 12, 2018, they signed the Beijing and Île-de-France Joint Action Plan 2018-2023. In recent years, Beijing and Île-de-France have engaged in frequent official exchanges and productive cooperation in the fields of science, technology, culture, education, environmental protection, and urban planning and management.
Scientific and Technological Innovations: In June 2018, the Zhongguancun-Île-de-France Industrial Innovation Center was unveiled in Beijing. In October 2018, with the support of Beijing, Île-de-France and the French Embassy in China, Beihang University and the Ecoles Centrales Group set up the Future City Laboratory in Beijing. In January 2019, the Administrative Committee of Zhongguancun Science Park established a liaison office at Station F, a business incubator for startups in Paris.
Culture and Education: From 2014 to 2015, Beijing and Île-de-France were working together on a vocational training project – Beijing Dispatch Plan, according to which Île-de-France sent 10 young people to Beijing in several groups for a six-month internship. In June 2016, at the third meeting of the China-France High-level Mechanism for Dialogue on People-to-People Exchanges, Beijing and France signed the Framework Agreement on the Construction of Fondation de Chine in Paris' International University City. Construction started for the Fondation de Chine Project in March 2019.
Other Fields: Five districts of Beijing have established collaborative or sister city relationships with six cities or other parts of Île-de-France. The education, environmental, social security, water affairs, urban planning, investment promotion and other authorities of Beijing and Île-de-France have signed many memoranda or agreements on cooperation.