Bordering the Netherlands and Belgium on Germany’s western frontier, Aachen is a city with digital ambitions. Home to nearly 250,000 people, the city will boast Europe’s largest research campus when RWTH Aachen Research Campus is completed, creating 10,000 jobs. The 800,000-square-metre facility will focus on collaboration between industry and science. This will be a boost to an already thriving relationship between industry and innovation in the city, where the University Clinic Aachen, RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences offer prospective investors a wealth of research facilities and staff. US-based Ford operates a research centre in the city, and in September 2015, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding established an R&D facility. Aachen is working to attract investment from China and Turkey in particular, attending roadshows and seminars focused on these markets.
Working together closely, Berlin Partner for Business and Technology and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin aim to bring investors from all over the world to their city. Berlin’s online presence makes it easy for an investor to position themselves well in the city: website Talent in Berlin features job listings in both English and German directed at jobseekers with specialised skills and training, while Economic Atlas Berlin allows web users to browse maps in both 3D and 2D, offering a virtual and informative walk through of the city. The ‘be Berlin’ marketing campaign and active campaigns on social media increase the city’s presence online, and innovative marketing ideas such as the Pop Into Berlin pop-up store in international locations present the city as a business location, while positioning it on a global stage. Tegel Airport is set to be replaced by the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport in 2017, leaving space to accommodate a research and industrial park, Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic, with a particular focus on bringing in hi-tech investors specialising in urban technologies.
The city of Cologne’s economic development department is committed to ensuring its staff are equipped to assist potential investors in the city. In addition to strategic training, staff are also entitled to take up to five days of paid educational leave annually to focus on their professional training. The city has target locations for attracting investment, including China, India and western Europe, and a programme of innovative marketing campaigns. One TV campaign in China reached more than 100 million people. Cologne’s network of 23 city partnerships furnish investors with a sound contact base. The city is extremely well connected, boasting three international airports within an hour and a robust broadband network covering the whole city. Furthermore, Cologne is the first city in Germany to roll out the LTE high-speed mobile network. Major infrastructure developments in the city will accommodate new investors, including the Gürzenich district, a 13,000-square-metre retail and office development; Gerling Quartier, a 46,000-square-metre residential and business district in the inner city; and Mülheim harbour, a 700,000-square-metre commercial and industrial area, which will be developed into an urban neighbourhood.
Located in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Duisburg is a pivotal city in Germany’s trade with the East. Two-thirds of Germany’s imports and exports are shipped along the river Rhine, placing Duisburg at the heart of the country's logistics and distribution. Freight rail lines run between Duisburg and Chongqing in China, forming what is being called the New Silk Road. Goods being shipped to Asia by train can travel at up to twice the speed of sea freight. Duisburg Promotion Agency recently relaunched its website in three languages (German, English and Chinese), while investors are provided with location presentations available in eight languages in the company’s bi-annual magazine. The agency aims to help prospective investors find suitable property for their investment, and has close links and collaborates with local education institutions to ensure a supply of suitably qualified staff.
Situated on the banks of the Rhine in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state, Düsseldorf’s Office of Economic Development works to attract investors from a list of target markets (including China and Japan and neighbouring European countries such as France and the Netherlands) and has a target list of clusters with a digital focus. Promotional events are organised in these markets, and in an effort to attract investment from new technology companies, a welcome package for digital firms was organised offering tailored services including 50% off the rental costs of serviced offices and apartments for up to three months. Some major infrastructure developments are lined up for the city, including the expansion of the airport and inner-city road and tram networks, as well as the development of major logistics centres to boost commercial trade at the new Rhine Harbour Port. These developments will boost investor confidence, providing better accessibility for people and goods.
This year’s German City of the Future, Frankfurt, has an impressive strategy in place to attract investors. With a global focus and presence, the city’s economic development agency has offices in the US, Japan, China and India, while also participating in international events and seminars, trade exhibitions and investment roadshows. Sixty-three of the Fortune Global 500 companies have a presence in the city. According to the CEO of the local economic development agency, 27% of Frankfurt’s population are non-Germans, demonstrating an openness to global business and talent. The city is undergoing some major infrastructure developments that are bound to have a positive impact on the investment landscape. One such development is the new Gateway Gardens Global Business Village, planned for a site next to the city’s airport but connected to the regional train network. Extensive transport developments are under way, with rail, tram and subway extensions under development.
Forward-thinking and future-proof are two attitudes Hamburg city and state, one of three city-states in the country, are projecting to attract investment. A strategy for the implementation of intelligent transport systems, as well as the extension of two subway lines and a renewable energy strategy for the city’s port, looks ahead to the future of mobility in the city. The construction of the landmark Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which also comprises hotel and residential units, will position Hamburg as a global city of culture. The city wants to market itself as a leading location for European headquarters and start-up companies, working with international providers of co-working spaces.
Nestled on the shore of Lake Constance at Germany’s southern tip, Konstanz is the only German city to form part of Zurich metropolitan area in Switzerland. The city council works to exploit this unique location with Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland on its doorstep. As such, networks that integrate business from these countries have been set up and the city has a high profile at local trade exhibitions for this four-country region. The city prides itself on its quality of life and scenic location, as well as its name as a tourist destination, to garner interest among investors. To house these investors, a new urban hotspot is under development along the shore of the lake, which includes office and residential units, hotels and restaurants and a conference centre.
Leipzig, the largest city in Germany’s Saxony state, has been reaping the benefits of a regional economic development agency, Invest Region Leipzig, which was founded in 2012. The agency works to represent the city at a national and international level, and trade delegations visited Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and the US in 2014 and 2015. The city is working to build on its reputation as a centre for electro-mobility investment, and hopes anchor companies such as BMW and Porsche, as well as logistics operations from Amazon and DHL (whose hub in Leipzig is its largest globally), will serve to attract other investors.
The city of Munich, the capital of south Germany’s Bavaria state, offers potential investors a dedicated service centre for international professionals, with a one-stop-shop offering advice on legal issues such as visa and immigration, and information on living in Munich and education in the city. Recognising its appeal to start-ups, dedicated consultancy BayStartUP provides advice and information on everything from setting up a business to accessing finance, while the Munich Business Startup Office helps new companies prepare business plans and assists with self-employment issues. An English language website acts as a digital welcome centre to prospective investors, with information on all aspects of investing, living and working in the city, as well as serving as a marketing platform. This is supplemented by the city’s attendance at international trade fairs such as Mipim at Cannes and Expo Real in Munich. In addition, international trade delegations are also welcomed to the city and city representatives participate in similar trade missions abroad, with the aim of promoting Munich and attracting investment.