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GTAI FDI Report

Germany Trade & Invest’s FDI Reports

Germany Trade & Invest, together with Germany’s federal states, compiles all foreign direct investment data in Germany to realize a comprehensive overview of foreign direct investment activity in the country.

Since 2008, Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) has compiled data on international business expansions to all of Germany’s sixteen regional states and combined it into a comprehensive overview of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country as a whole. 

GTAI’s annual FDI Reports enjoy significant resonance both in Germany and abroad and among both journalists and businesspeople. The GTAI FDI Reports are one of the most respected data-based sources on the total volume of international companies expanding to Germany.

Methodology


A foreign company must have at least a 50 percent share in a project in order to be included in the count. The following project types are reported to GTAI:


  • Greenfield projects
  • Expansion projects
  • Joint ventures (where these lead to a new project)
  • Relocalization of foreign companies in Germany

Takeovers and mergers (M&A projects) information is not collected.

Here you will find the GTAI FDI Report results of the last five years with the respective individual results for each year.

2021 Report: Business Expansions to Germany Back on the Rise

Foreign direct investment to Germany saw a big comeback in 2021 as Germany Trade and Invest’s FDI report recorded a seven percent increase which elevated greenfield project numbers to 1,806.

Report summary

1,806 international companies set up shop in Germany in 2021 in the form of greenfield investments. The number of projects was up seven percent over 2020, rebounding almost fully to 1,851 in the final pre-corona year 2019.

The overall volume, however, is expected to be well in excess of EUR 7 billion. And it doesn’t include the massive expansion projects first announced in 2022 by Intel and Northvolt, which were worth at least EUR 17 billion and EUR 4 billion respectively.

Read the full GTAI 2021 FDI Report press release.

Key findings

  • Germany’s federal states registered 1,806 FDI projects (greenfield, expansions, relocations, but excluding M&A) in 2021 - a seven percent rise compared to the previous year. Additionally, 229 M&A-deals were recorded, in which foreign investors bought more than 50 percent of shares.

  • The US led all countries in greenfield projects with 254, while the EU was the leading source region.
  • Foreign companies preferred investments in the ICT and communications sector, followed by business and financial services.
  • 18 percent of these companies use Germany as a production or R&D location.

Charts

Download the 2021 GTAI FDI report

2020 Report: Defying the Crisis

The annual Germany Trade & Invest FDI report shows that Germany has attracted more foreign business in 2020 than experts had predicted. We documented 1,684 international companies who set up shop with greenfield investments, expansions and relocations.

Report summary

The 2020 figures were down nine percent compared to 2019. But the decline is anything but surprising considering the global coronavirus crisis. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicted that foreign business investments would decline by fifteen percent within the EU, so nine percent is ultimately positive news.

American businesses led the way with 254 projects in Germany, followed by Switzerland (219) and China (170). Germany is also becoming more and more attractive as a business location for e-mobility companies, with major expansions by US carmaker Tesla and Chinese battery producer SVOLT. Other popular sectors for projects were ICT and software (19 percent), business and financial services (17 percent), consumer goods (ten percent) and machinery manufacturing (nine percent).

Read the 2020 GTAI FDI report press release.

Key findings

  • Germany’s federal states registered 1,684 FDI projects (greenfield, expansions, relocations, but excluding M&A) in 2020 - a nine percent decrease compared to the previous year.
  • Additionally, 372 M&A transactions were recorded in which foreign investors purchased more than 50 percent of shares.
  • The US led all countries in greenfield projects with 254, while the EU was the leading source region.
  • Foreign companies preferred investments in the ICT and communications sector, followed by business and financial services.
  • 19 percent of these companies use Germany as a production or R&D location.

Charts

Download the 2020 GTAI FDI report

2019 Report: More Jobs Created

Despite a decline in raw numbers, foreign firms that set up shop in Germany in 2019 created far greater employment.

Report summary

The number of foreign companies that came to Germany last year declined by around ten percent from the 2018 record of 1,851. But Germany profited more from their presence, significantly increasing jobs created from 24,000 (2018) to 42,000 (2019). 

“Thanks to successes in attracting foreign investors like Tesla last year, we demonstrated that as a business location Germany is among the absolute world leaders and is able to persuade people internationally,” said German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.

Read the 2019 GTAI FDI report press release.

Key findings

  • The greatest number of foreign investment projects in 2019, 302, came from the United States, followed by 185 from Britain, 184 from Switzerland and 154 from China.
  • Additionally, 419 M&A transactions were recorded which involved foreign investors buying up more than 50 percent of shares.
  • The US led the way in terms of greenfield projects with 302, while most of the new facilities were from the EU.
  • The greatest number of investors came from the ICT sector, followed by business and financial services and consumer goods.
  • The amount of money invested rose from EU 4.8 billion in 2018 to EUR 5.1 billion in 2019.
  • 19 percent of the companies use Germany as a production or R&D location.

Charts

Download the 2019 GTAI FDI report

2018 Report: Setting New Records

2,062 foreign companies opened up businesses in Germany in 2018 – a new record. That is the result of the 2018 Germany Trade & Invest FDI Report.

Report summary

The EU is the most important source of Greenfield and expansion projects in Germany. The US holds its position as the top investor country leading the way with 345 investment projects – also a new record. The Americans were followed by Switzerland (229 projects), China (188) and the UK (168).

The number of British firms established in Germany since the Brexit referendum (2016-2018) has risen by 34 percent. Meanwhile the number of new Chinese companies in Germany fell by 33 percent compared to the same period (2016–2018). The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) also went up, from 1,925 in 2017 to 2,825 in 2018 – an increase of more than 47 percent.

Read the 2018 GTAI FDI report press release.

Key findings

  • Altogether, Germany‘s federal states registered a record of 2,062 settlement projects (greenfields, expansions, relocations, not M&A) in 2018.
  • Additionally, foreign companies in Germany registered 2,852 M&A transactions, 497 of which involved foreign investors buying up more than 50 percent of shares.
  • The US led the way in terms of greenfield projects with 345, while most of the new facilities (more than 40 percent) were from the EU.
  • The most popular sectors last year were business and financial services, followed by IT, communications and software, consumer goods, and machine and parts manufacturing.
  • Roughly a third of foreign companies concentrated on marketing and distribution while 17 percent used Germany as a location for production and R&D.
  • In a poll conducted by Germany Trade & Invest 45 percent of British firms said that Brexit had influenced their decision to invest in Germany.

Charts

Download the 2018 GTAI FDI report

2017 Report: The Brexit Effect

A potential ‘Brexit effect’ has made itself apparent in Germany’s 2017 foreign direct investment (FDI) figures, with the number of UK investment projects jumping by 21 percent.

Report summary

The number of projects coming from the UK has increased noticeably in 2017. Currently, the large share of these projects involves service offices opening, but it will be interesting to see whether production facilities are subsequently set up. Also notable was that the UK was the largest source of merger, acquisition and shareholding investment. The volume of enquiries to GTAI from the UK has also risen sharply. 

“We are convinced that this increase in British FDI activity is a direct consequence of the Brexit decision,” said Thomas Bozoyan, Manager of Research at GTAI. He noted that this would be part of a larger trend, which has seen British FDI across Europe increase by 33 percent. Financial services and ICT are the main recipient industries of the investments, but the shareholding acquisition of British companies and investors in German companies has also increased sharply, which adds to the impression that this is a strategy to deal with Brexit.

Read the 2017 GTAI FDI report press release

Key findings

  • Altogether, Germany‘s federal states registered 1,910 settlement projects (greenfields, expansions, relocations, not M&A) in 2017 which are set to create around 29,000 jobs in Germany overall.
  • Additionally, 1,925 M&A transactions were registered by foreign companies in Germany.
  • The US led the way in terms of greenfield projects with 276, while most of the new facilities (more than 40 percent) were from the EU. China registered 218, Switzerland 204, the UK 152, the Netherlands 124 and France 95.
  • Foreign investors tend to prefer investing in corporate and financial services. They represent about 20 percent of all new projects, ahead of ICT & software with 16 percent and consumer goods industry at 10 percent.
  • The most popular activity remains the opening of sales and marketing offices (39 percent). Production and R&D represent 19 percent while business services account for 18 percent of all investment projects.
  • The most important investment project source region for Germany remains the EU, from whose member states 41 percent of all investment projects originate, while China’s influence means that a shade under 25 percent of the investment projects come from Asia.
  • Germany is, with 18 percent of all British FDI in Europe, the most popular investment destination for British investments.

Charts

Download the 2017 GTAI FDI report

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