Two and a half years of Invest in Bavaria – A look behind the scenes
Just about two and a half years ago, I took on my new job as head of Invest in Bavaria. As the former Business Promotion Representative for the city of Augsburg, and most recently as representative of the State of Bavaria in New York, I was well aware of the tasks awaiting me. After all, I had been charged with acquiring companies. But when I look back now, I'm amazed at how diverse projects at Invest in Bavaria have been so far.
No day is like the next, and no project is like another – and that's exactly what makes our work so exciting. Every investor approaches us with different needs and demands. Some companies have already chosen Bavaria and are looking for support in searching for commercial sites or office space. Others are just beginning the decision-making process and require initial information on the location or market environment.
Successful year 2015 – Records in the number of investment projects and top projects such as IBM Watson IoT
2015 was an especially successful year – in fact the most successful in the history of Invest in Bavaria: We successfully completed 134 projects. This marks an increase of 31.4 percent compared to the previous year. This created 5,000 new, direct jobs and secured an additional 650.
Wir durften sehr spannende Projekte begleiten. Eines mit besonderer internationaler Stahlkraft ist die Ansiedlung von IBM. Hier standen mehrere Regionen weltweit im Wettbewerb und stichhaltige Argumente für Bayern waren gefragt. Ausschlaggebend für München waren letztendlich die einzigartige Kombination aus der Nähe zu führenden Unternehmen aus allen Branchen, Universitäten, technischem Know-how, Fachkräfte sowie eine auch für internationale Spitzenkräfte attraktive Umgebung, der lokalen Wirtschaft und das investitionsfreundliche, gute politische Umfeld. In den Münchnern HighLight Towers eröffnete das amerikanische Unternehmen Ende 2015 die Zentrale des Geschäftsbereichs Watson IoT und somit das erste europäisches Watson Innovation Center. Erfreuliche 1.000 neue Arbeitsplätze werden hier insgesamt rund um Cognitive Computing und IoT (Internet of Things) entstehen. Bei diesem Investitionsprojekt finde ich besonders erfreulich, dass sich daraus für bayerische Unternehmen wertvolle Kooperationsmöglichkeiten ergeben: Hier geht es nicht nur darum, Prozesse zu optimieren, sondern neue Geschäftsfelder zu erschließen.And we had the privilege of supporting some very exciting projects. One of them with tremendous international appeal is IBM's decision to settle in Bavaria. In trying to attract the company, numerous regions around the world competed for the settlement, which meant that Bavaria had to present some very convincing arguments. What ultimately turned the tables in favour of Munich was the unique combination of close proximity to companies from all sectors, universities, technological expertise, well-trained professionals, an attractive environment that appeals to top international managers, the local economy and the excellent political environment which is very investment-friendly. The American company opened its main office for its Watson IoT business division in the HighLight Towers in Munich at the end of 2015, and thus established the first Watson Innovation Center in Europe. Most pleasing is the fact that a total of 1,000 new jobs will be created which will focus on Cognitive Computing and IoT (Internet of Things). What I particularly like about this investment project is that it generates valuable cooperation options for Bavarian companies: this means much more than just optimising processes, it means creating entirely new fields of business.
Even expansions mark a clear commitment to Bavaria as a business location
Of course, the majority of our projects involve business settlements in Bavaria such as IBM or Alibaba. But our team also supports expansion projects and securing sites whenever other sites outside Bavaria are involved or when particularly complex projects involve many different participants.
BMW, for example, reached a decision last year on building a new logistics centre in Wallersdorf. The municipality previously provided jobs to 1,000 people; BMW's new logistics centre creates an additional 2,000 jobs. “For us, this is like Christmas and Easter on the same day, topped off by winning the lottery,” is the charming way Heinrich Trapp, District Administrator Dingolfing-Landau, expressed his feeling at the grand opening. This decision by a global corporation such as BMW is not only a decision pro Wallersdorf, but also a significant commitment to its home base Bavaria.
Positive effects for all of Bavaria
We regularly promote locations throughout the state – every time project requirements allow us to do so. And we are very successful at it; just look at the number of newly created jobs: Lower Bavaria is the leader in this category, even when excluding the large-scale BMW project in Wallersdorf. When looking at the number of jobs created per project, Lower Bavaria (with an average of 66.8 jobs) is ahead of Upper Palatinate (60.3) and Upper Franconia (57.5). Upper Bavaria comes in last with 7.2 jobs per project. The statistics for 2015 confirm the findings from the past years: smaller companies and start-ups are often founded in Upper Bavaria.
Investors from around the world are at home in Bavaria
We supported projects involving 34 different nations in 2015. Two countries have been the leaders among foreign countries of origin for the past years: China and the USA. In 2015, China once again (as it had the previous year) ranked first with 16 completed projects. Japan ranks third. Technology-driven companies especially like to settle in Bavaria. The state is particularly popular among sectors such as ICT, the automotive industry, and the aerospace industry or satellite navigation.
I already mentioned how diverse our work is. Of course, cultural diversity also plays a significant role in this. Very important to our Asian customers are business contacts, the Asian community in Bavaria and the brokering of the right contacts. US companies are more interested in hard facts.
Our job frequently provides the opportunity to meet interesting people. Not long ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Ginni Rometty, CEO and President of IBM, at a panel discussion in Brussels. When addressing the Internet of Things, she stressed that it makes no sense to build walls to protect something that is already taking place anyway. This is not the road to success. Ginni Rometty put the issue in a nutshell. As a business location, we cannot ignore the economic and social upheavals such as digitization, also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. On the contrary: We have to accept new developments as opportunities for new ideas and services, and actively shape them. I am very pleased that my team and I can contribute to making Bavaria a particularly successful business location and a great place to live.