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Foreign direct investment in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2019 remains on course for success

Turkey with the most investment projects for the first time

With a total of 427 new settlements and expansion projects, the consistently high level of foreign direct investment (FDI) continued in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2019. With a share of around 23 percent, the state is the most popular investment location for international companies nationwide. There is a change at the top among the investor countries: For the first time, Turkey is ahead of Greater China (65) with 73 FDI projects, as reported by the state-owned economic development agency NRW.INVEST.

"The results once again show that North Rhine-Westphalia enjoys an excellent international reputation as a location for business and investment. Foreign investors are important employers in North Rhine-Westphalia, who use their expertise to drive the progress of our state and grow with us. Particularly in view of the current global challenges, strong international networks count more than ever before," explains Economics and Digital Affairs Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart.

Facts and figures at a glance:

  • With 73 investment projects (previous year: 44), Turkey occupies first place among the main investor countries for the first time.
  • A clear upward trend can be seen for the United Kingdom in third place: the number of FDI projects increased by 48 percent from 31 cases in 2018 to 46 projects in 2019.
  • With around 1,500 potential jobs, the USA maintains its leading position as a job engine in North Rhine-Westphalia. Greater China doubles the number of potential jobs compared to the previous year to around 1,100, putting it in second place.

"This year's result was not unexpected: We have already noticed a significant increase in Turkish investments in North Rhine-Westphalia since 2016," explains Petra Wassner, CEO of NRW.INVEST. "In addition, the investment projects from the IT and telecommunications sector as well as the settlement of US Unicorns such as Lime and ThoughtSpot underline the fact that our state is excellently positioned internationally when it comes to future digital issues. In addition, the logistics sector also remains strongly represented."

In the telecommunications sector, the three Chinese technology groups OPPO, VIVO and Xiaomi, which opened their branches in Düsseldorf, stand out in particular. The IT and software industry also has a number of newcomers: For example, the Turkish software specialist Arvento Mobile Systems settled in Düsseldorf, with the company focusing on the development of digital systems for vehicle fleet management. In addition, the Indian IT group Infosys set up a digital innovation center with up to 300 employees in the state capital, and the US Unicorn ThoughtSpot, specializing in AI-based analyses, settled in Duisburg's accelerator Startport. Another Unicorn in North Rhine-Westphalia is Lime: The US bicycle and e-scooter rental company established its German subsidiary in Troisdorf with an anticipated 250 jobs. 

The US online retailer Amazon is creating another 300 jobs with two new sites in Essen and Paderborn. The British logistics provider GLS is building a new parcel center in Essen for a possible 165 employees. The Dutch online supermarket Picnic also continues to grow strongly and created almost 400 jobs in North Rhine-Westphalia last year with the opening of a large number of distribution centers.

North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's No. 1 investment location: More than 20,000 foreign companies employ over one million people in the state.