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The Machinery & Equipment Industry in Germany

With global machinery trade share of almost 16 percent, Germany’s M&E industry sector remains the world’s leading supplier of machinery and equipment – ahead of China and the USA.

The machinery and equipment (M&E) sector is the second largest and most innovative industry sector in Germany. The industry's strength is driven by a combination of Germany’s proven engineering tradition, its position as a technology development leader, and a highly diversified industrial base. The country retains its role as a globally competitive and flexible R&D test bed thanks to M&E innovative strength.

Industry & Market Numbers 2019/2020

Leading Industry

  • Number 1 domestic industry sector by level and degree of innovation

  • Number 2 domestic industry by turnover – generating EUR 229 billion in 2019 alone

  • 6,600 companies and more than 1 million workers along the value chain

  • 3.5 percent value added share of German economy gross value added

Global Export Leader

  • 16 percent share of global machinery trade making it world´s leading supplier

  • 80 percent of machinery turnover generated from international exports

  • German manufacturers are the world market leaders in 14 (rank 1) and 7 (rank 2) out of 31 M&E sectors


  • EUR 17 billion yearly expenditure for innovation in 2019 and 2020 (2015-2017) – upward trajectory forecast to continue

  • EUR 2.6 billion expenditures for Industrie 4.0 solutions (2020)

Foreign Direct Investment

  • Number 1 FDI destination in Europe – around 1,180  M&E FDI projects into Germany (2010-2020)

Source: VDMA 2021, FDI markets 2021, GTA FDI Competence Center 2021, ZEW innovation report 2021, bitcom 2020

Market | Personnel | R&D

MARKET - Exceptionally high domestic demand results from Germany's strong industrial structure. The four biggest producing industries (chemicals, electronics, automotive, and food & beverages) are also the four most important client sectors for the M&E industry. In the region of 11 thousand companies – with a combined workforce of around 2.8 million – are active in these four sectors, generating combined turnover of around EUR 900 billion in 2017.
PERSONNEL - Germany’s universities and universities of applied sciences produce some of the most highly qualified employees in the business. Almost 30% of all university and college graduates have an engineering or applied sciences degree. Germany’s unique dual education system – combining classroom and on-the-job training – is specifically geared to meet industry needs, making it attractive to investors and a model for international success.

R&D - Manufacturers located in Germany work in close partnership with a network of around 100 mechanical engineering university faculties and numerous internationally recognized research institutes.

Incentives | Physical Infrastructure | Stable Investment Environment

INCENTIVES - Germany offers a broad platform of incentives for all investors - regardless of whether they are from Germany or otherwise. There is a large selection of programs designed to support a wide variety of business activities at different stages of the investment process. Support ranges from cash incentives for the reimbursement of direct investment costs to incentives for labor as well as research and development.

Within the new High-Tech Strategy, the government offers special support for technology partnerships and provides R&D grants and loans. Germany’s INDUSTRIE 4.0 Future Project is one of the declared priorities in the new High-Tech Strategy. The Federal Government is providing comprehensive support to establish Germany as a lead market and provider of key technologies and as a future center for production.

PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE - We offer an extensive and comprehensive logistics infrastructure that integrates state-of-the-art transportation networks with the most modern telematics, IT, and telecommunications systems.

STABLE INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT - Social, economic, and political stability provide a solid base for your corporate projects. Our judiciary and civil services are highly professional. Contractual agreements are secure and intellectual property is strictly protected in Germany.

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