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North Rhine-Westphalia attractive for foreign direct investment

Minister Neubaur: Despite global challenges, the location enjoys an excellent reputation internationally

North Rhine-Westphalia remains Germany's number one investment location, with approx. 22,000 foreign companies employing around one million people in the state. With a total of 390 new settlements and expansion projects, interest in FDI (foreign direct investment) remains high, according to the records of the state-owned foreign trade promotion agency NRW.Global Business for the year 2022. Projects from European countries in particular are driving demand with a share of more than 60 percent. This underlines the continuing attractiveness of the business location on international markets, even in difficult times. Nevertheless, the medium-term consequences of the Corona pandemic and the tense geopolitical situation arising from the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine are leading to a noticeable overall restraint in investment activities compared with the previous year. At around 8,000, the number of new jobs forecast is lower than in 2021, but equals the level of previous years.

Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy: "These results show that North Rhine-Westphalia enjoys an excellent reputation in the world as a business and investment location despite global challenges. Especially now, international networks count more than ever. Our goal is to diversify our economic relations more strongly and, with the help of international cooperation and partnerships, to advance the energy transition and the climate-friendly transformation of our economy. Foreign investors in the state make a key contribution to this."

Facts and figures at a glance:

  • With investment projects from a total of 36 countries, North Rhine-Westphalia remains an important and globally networked business location in 2022.
  • Türkiye returns to the top of the list of the largest investor countries with 91 projects (2021: 49). For Turkish companies, the state remains the most important investment destination in Europe due to historically grown relationships and access to the domestic market.
  • Direct investments from Greater China maintain a similar level with 68 projects (2021: 69).
  • The United Kingdom achieves a similarly high result in 2021 with 32 projects (previous year: 30), while investment projects from the USA (39, 2021: 47) and the Netherlands (33, 2021: 56) decline more sharply.

Felix Neugart, CEO of NRW.Global Business: "Following the Corona pandemic, we are seeing strong growth in foreign direct investment, particularly in the area of B2B services and IT projects. However, it is particularly the settlements in sectors such as mobility, hydrogen or medical technology that underline the potential of North Rhine-Westphalia as an innovation location to advance new technologies. This is where we at NRW.Global Business are increasingly focusing our activities in location marketing."

The Australian startup Pure Battery Technologies, for example, is bringing sustainable energy and mobility solutions to North Rhine-Westphalia. In Hagen, the company wants to produce primary material for the construction of electric car batteries in a pilot factory. The Austrian automotive supplier AVL Schrick plans to commission a test center for the development of a hydrogen cluster at its site in Remscheid. Hydrogen is also the focus of the Israeli startup H2Pro, which has developed an innovative method for water electrolysis and is now launching its first activities in Düsseldorf.

North Rhine-Westphalia also remains a popular location in the field of bioscience: Monrol, a leading Turkish company in nuclear medicine, is investing in a radiopharmaceutical production center in Cologne. Turkish logistics startup Yolda also plans to set up a sales office there. Yolda specializes in shipping small freight volumes.

Digitization and e-commerce also remain high on the agenda: Indian IT group Infosys, which has been based in Düsseldorf since 2019, is intensifying its activities in the state capital. The US startup Reibus, a digital B2B marketplace for trading, financing and transporting steel, aluminum and other metals, is also expanding its business and opening its European headquarters in Düsseldorf. In addition, Attensi, a British training and gamification company, is launching its German headquarters in Cologne.