Saxony. A great future built on past foundations A strong and highly efficient industry has evolved through smart ideas and intelligent solutions, the Saxony Economic Development Corporation write The German region of Saxony has many tales to tell and has been at the centre of the country’s history, and future. The digital heart of the European semiconductor industry beats in Dresden. The commercial centre, Leipzig, is home to a vibrant and bustling trade fair and media city; its airport is Europe’s most modern air cargo hub, providing 24/7 services. And the Chemnitz-Zwickau region is considered as the traditional heart of Saxony’s economy. Whether it is mechanical engineering expertise or its more than 100-years old Autoland Saxony – a strong and highly efficient industry has evolved in the region through smart ideas and intelligent solutions. To cut a long story short: Saxony is a top location for such globally active enterprises as Volkswagen, BMW, Porsche, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Infineon, DHL, Solar World and many more. Infrastructure and location Seen from a geographical perspective, Saxony is located right in the heart of Europe. Since time immemorial it has been the intersection of the major thoroughfares on the continent. The Via Regia (Rhineland to eastern Europe) and the Via Imperii (Italy to the Baltic Sea) were the most important crossroads in the Middle Ages, and today it is the E40 (which runs from France to Kazakhstan) and the E55 (which runs from Sweden to Greece). All of these routes pass through Saxony. Its central location has proven to be a real geographical advantage for Saxony. This is why the logistics giant DHL decided to relocate its European air cargo hub from Brussels to Leipzig. In addition to providing an ideal location, Saxony’s environment is perfect, too. At Leipzig/Halle Airport, cargo liners can be handled 24 hours per day and 365 days per year, providing the best possible prerequisite for mastering the constantly increasing air freight volume. And the region also provides a superbly developed transportation network that interconnects rail lines, expressways and waterways with great mobility and versatility. This permits the quick forwarding of goods to the expanding markets in Eastern Europe. A logistic masterpiece Saxony’s transportation infrastructure is capable of successfully handling extreme challenges. For example, the gigantic A380 airbus landed on the Elbe River right in the middle of Dresden’s cargo port in 2004. To be more precise, the air giant, which was still incapable of flight, was actually delivered by ship. The rest of the trip was successfully continued on the federal expressway. Its destination was the large-scale test hangar on the IAB GmbH at Dresden Airport, where the new super jet was tested to the limits of its static load capacity in cooperation with IMA GmbH. Economy and industry sectors The Industrial Age began in Saxony in the 18th century with the founding of the first machine manufacturing enterprises. Since then, the region has stayed ahead of its rivals on the European mainland. It was the home of the first locomotive to be designed and engineered in Germany, the first six-cylinder engine and the centrally-positioned gearshift lever in automobiles. In the mid-19th century the industrial cities of Chemnitz and Zwickau and their suburbs had the highest per capita income in Europe. And the success story continues: since 1990, about 6,000 companies have set up or purchased business premises in Saxony. These enterprises have invested approximately €35 billion. The region’s economy has increased by 11.2% since 2000, the highest economic growth of all federal states in Germany. Autoland Saxony BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen are all active in Saxony. Car manufacturing in the region dates back to when August Horch established his automobile factory in Zwickau more than 100 years ago. The first vehicles that he designed bore his name – Horch, though later models were known by a more familiar name: Audi. Since that time the automobile industry has become the predominant economic sector in Saxony. It now accounts for more than one fifth of all industrial sales in the region. But not just in Saxony itself, the Free State is one of Germany’s main hubs of car production. Also, almost every eighth car made in Germany comes from Saxony. But Autoland Saxony is not just a renowned automobile maker. About 750 supply companies from the backbone of Saxony’s automobile manufacturing industry. German mechanical engineering Saxony can justifiably call itself the cradle of German and Continental European mechanical engineering. The ingenious Chemnitz entrepreneur Carl Friedrich Bernhard returned to Saxony from a business trip to England with the spinning master and machine builder Evan Evans. With the help of Evans, in 1798 Bernhard transformed his spinning mill in Harthau into the world’s largest mechanical spinning mill. This marked the beginning of the triumphant start of Saxony’s industrialisation, which has since been a virtually unparalleled success story. Today machines produced in Chemnitz enjoy an excellent reputation throughout the world. For example, Chemnitz-based corporate groups such as Niles-Simmons-Hegenscheidt and StarragHeckert are renowned internationally. Germany’s oldest toolmaking factory – the UNION Chemnitz founded by David Gustav Diehl– is a leading manufacturing of boring and milling machines. A more recent company is the Metrom GmbH in Hartmannsdorf. The company develops parallel kinematic machines that have one of the most innovative designs in the field of mechanical engineering. Silicon Saxony Every second chip produced in Europe bears the imprint Made in Saxony. GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Infineon Technologies have expanded and continue to expand their Dresden Fabs into the world’s most automated and innovative semiconductor production sites. Saxon enterprises and research institutions are the global leaders primarily in such innovative fields as new materials, digital manufacturing smart systems, organic and printed electronics, and next generation mobile (5G) communication. Silicon Saxony is Europe’s largest microelectronics cluster, and when it comes to technology it is one of the most innovative ICT clusters in the world. Approximately 2,200 companies with more than 58,000 employees develop, manufacture, and promote integrated circuits, serve the chip industry as material and equipment suppliers, produce and distribute electronic products and systems based on integrated circuits, or develop and promote software at this location. Greentech made in Saxony Energy and the environment are topics that will always dominate investment discussions worldwide. The demand for intelligent solutions and innovative technologies in environmental technology, renewable energies and energy efficiency is increasing. In Saxony the environmental and energy technology sector has become an important economic factor. Environmental technology contributes more than 6% to Saxony’s GDP, and more than 20,000 people are employed in this sector. Saxony’s enterprises hold a leading position in such key markets as power generation and energy storage, as well as recycling management. The industries benefit from Saxony’s long tradition as an industrial venue specifically for machine and plant construction. Saxony’s mountains have been vibrant mining centres for many centuries – during the Middle Ages, silver and other precious raw materials were extracted; later, the focus was more on lignite and uranium. This is the foundation for the expert knowledge and competence found in Saxony’s commercial enterprises and research institutions today, which is unrivalled throughout the world, primarily when it comes to cleaning up uranium and lignite mining residues, removing hazardous waste, or renovating wastewater systems. Furthermore, Saxony is considered to be the German competence centre for renewable energies, in particular, photovoltaics (PVs) and energy storage. Specifically in the solar industry, the region ranks among the top locations within Europe. From research facilities to manufacturers of basic materials (silicon, glass), as well as wafers and cells all the way to end producers and module manufacturers, the entire value creation chain is present in Saxony. All relevant PV technologies – including crystalline, thin film and organic PV – are located right here. Saxon machine and plant companies are also among the leading manufacturers of automation solutions and special machinery for PV producers. In an increasingly adverse environment, the PV branch focuses on cooperation with the equally vibrant neighbouring regions of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin-Brandenburg. The joint network Solarvalley Central Germany, a top cluster supported by the federal government, promotes specifically the research and development sector. Room for manoeuvre Although so many investors have already secured their prime spots in Saxony, there is still plenty room across the free state for companies looking to invest, says Peter Nothnagel, managing director at the Saxony Economic Development Corporation, a local investment promotion and facilitation entity. “Plots that we can find for investors are available immediately and at fair prices,” says Nothnagel. Land for development is not the only asset that the state has abundance, he adds, given that 95% of Saxony’s workforce has earned at least a university entrance diploma or have completed vocational training. “Our workers have enough training and work ethics to show what German precision and quality is all about. They know how to make products as they should be.”


Saxony can justifiably call itself the cradle of German mechanical engineering [and] has since been a virtually unparalleled success story