The investment haven for British businesses

With a state capital like Düsseldorf – its 240.5-metre-high Rhine Tower a symbol of the region’s cutting-edge spirit – North Rhine-Westphalia is where quality of life, commerce and innovation go hand in hand. Hardwired for entrepreneurship, it’s Europe’s hottest location for British companies looking to expand their reach. We find out more


Economic powerhouse

In Germany’s northwest corner, North Rhine-Westphalia covers an area of 34,084 square kilometres, making it the most populous of the 16 German federal states with a population of 17.9 million and cities such as Düsseldorf and Cologne (pictured above). What you may not know, is that North Rhine-Westphalia drives nearly 21 per cent of all German GDP and is called home by 20 of the 50 highest-grossing German giants, including Bayer, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, E.ON and Thyssenkrupp. But the backbone of the economy is provided by more than 713,000 SMEs and startups.
Did you know? One in four German world market leaders rose to prominence in North Rhine-Westphalia.


Foreign investment

Of the 16 German states, North Rhine-Westphalia is the leading investment destination for businesses from across the world. As well as numerous SMEs, more than 20,000 international companies are based here, including 3M, BP, Ericsson, Ford, Huawei, QVC and Toyota. Last year, 427 new settlements and expansion projects were realised in the region, attracted by the state’s economic opportunities, global outlook and central position. Plus there’s plenty of support from the state-owned economic development agency, NRW.INVEST, which has a dedicated UK and London office.
Did you know? NRW.INVEST delivers a one-stop individual service for companies from all sectors, providing information on everything from markets, locations or investment conditions to practical assistance with specific settlement projects.


Technical excellence

One of the reasons North Rhine-Westphalia maintains its competitive edge is the quality of its knowledge institutes, which provide ideal conditions for technology transfer. The region is home to more than 110 tech and non-university research centres, so it’s no wonder North Rhine-Westphalia is becoming Germany’s leading location for the digital economy. The steps it’s taking towards digitalisation along the entire value-added chain make for an alluring market and plenty of partnering opportunities for digital firms.
Did you know? More than 773,000 students at 70 universities across North Rhine-Westphalia make up an outstanding talent pool for discerning employers to pick from.


British spirit

The UK is the third most important investor country in North Rhine-Westphalia (after Turkey and China) – and its influence is growing. Foreign direct investment projects grew by 48 per cent from 2018 to 2019, and currently 1,500 of the 20,000 foreign companies in the region hail from the UK – that’s 22.1 per cent of all British firms in Germany. British companies that have set up shop here include market research firm Euromonitor International, parcel service provider GLS (pictured above - a subsidiary of the Royal Mail), telecoms giant Vodafone and British cosmetics manufacturer Lush.
Did you know? More than 20,000 UK nationals have settled in the region, representing almost a quarter of Germany’s British population. Attracted by the state’s opportunities, diversity, convenient position, cultural attractions and living conditions, they’re clearly on to a good thing.

To find out more about setting up shop in North Rhine-Westphalia,
click here

1) © Roland Abel
3) ©istock/gorodenkoff
4) © Axel Schulten

This article has been tagged Advertorial, Destination