Future made in Hamburg

Hamburg Invest presents annual results, with excellent urban economic and fiscal effects

Future made in Hamburg

A total of 9,504 jobs created and secured, about 1,000 companies serviced, and an investment volume of over EUR 588 million: these are the key figures of Hamburg Invest for the year 2020. Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Michael Westhagemann, commented: "In spite of the pandemic, economic investment in Hamburg has been standing strong. This is an extremely powerful signal that confirms Hamburg’s great potential as a business location. To keep it that way, we need to provide companies with the room they need to grow. Innovation hubs and startup centres, spaces for pioneering industries and logistics, as well as commercial spaces for skilled trades and SMEs – this is the basis for a future made in Hamburg."

The urban economic and fiscal effects of Hamburg Invest’s results are indeed excellent. According to a study by Prognos AG, Hamburg Invest’s activities in 2020 shall trigger value-added effects of EUR 1.7 billion, amounting to approx. 1.5% of the total gross value added in Hamburg in 2020. The study has also found that Hamburg Invest is further contributing to creating and securing some 16,150 jobs. In total, fiscal effects amounting to EUR 155 million are expected to be generated. Mr Westhagemann explained: “The work of Hamburg Invest sustainably strengthens Hamburg as a business location in the long term. Every single euro invested in business development is paying off – a fact that Hamburg’s Minister of Finance appreciates too.”

In 2020, the focus of Hamburg Invest's commitment was once again on innovation, digitisation, and sustainability, and thus companies from these areas were also the focus of location marketing. The majority of companies supported by Hamburg Invest were from the innovative SME sector or startups. Dr Rolf Strittmatter, Hamburg Invest’s managing director, remarked: “Especially in these times of the pandemic, it has been the right decision to keep a consistent focus on industries with maximum value creation. Especially in the technology and knowledge-based sectors of the economy, we need growth – and we are fostering growth. Going forward, these sectors are going to secure employment and growth in Hamburg.”

The results in figures

Considering the ongoing pandemic, these are high-level results, and the number of expansion projects has even increased further.

of which Relocation 77 59
of which Expansion 55 60
in the Metropolitan Region   6   6

As part of the government’s Covid-19 subsidies programme, Hamburg Invest also created an official video tutorial for Hamburg-based businesses at short notice. The video was clicked about 230,000 times and viewed around 23,000 times. If these figures were to be added to the consulting figures, the number would in fact be multiplied. In addition, 6 (2019: 6) companies were supported as they settled in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

Jobs created2,5402,188
Jobs secured8,9847,316
in million EUR656588


In 2020, Hamburg Invest brokered a total of 16.4 hectares of commercial space. Of this, 8.2 hectares were private and 8.2 hectares were municipal space. 6.7 hectares of these municipal sites were properties owned by Hamburg Invest Entwicklungsgesellschaft (HIE), totalling eleven sites. Nine were given to Hamburg-based companies seeking to expand, and two were made available to commercial yard projects. Ever since HIE was established in May 2018, it has brokered approx. 33.5 hectares across 30 different projects. Of these, 58% of land was granted under ground lease. In 2020, this figure amounted to approx. 62%.

One third of HIE's land is already marketed at this stage, and another third is made available for Innovation Park sites. To ensure the future growth of Hamburg's economy, HIE will be provided with a second tranche of municipal land to be directly awarded.

The development of Hamburg’s innovation parks has also progressed further. In the district of Altona, for instance, the tecHHub and tecHHub Village projects adjacent to the DESY Innovation Factory are both nearing completion.

With the Logistics Micro-Hubs project, which is aimed at optimising “the last mile” of end customer deliveries, Hamburg Invest initiated and implemented an innovative project on behalf of Hamburg’s Ministry for Economic Affairs. The Micro-Hubs project is now regarded as a benchmark for other regions across Germany. As part of a preceding study phase, Hamburg Invest captured the needs of service providers as well as legal and real estate-specific requirements, and, based on these findings, identified a variety of potentially suitable locations throughout the city.


Due to the global Covid situation, conditions for companies seeking to relocate changed significantly in 2020. According to the UN, foreign investment in Europe fell by as much as 71%. In Hamburg, however, this trend was considerably less pronounced. In 2020, as many as 59 relocation projects were successfully completed, and another six companies settled in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Thus, the decline was just under 25%.

Selected company profiles

Local companies

Hamburg-based company ADOLF WEBER Grundbesitz- und Projektgesellschaft secured the last available commercial plot in the new Jenfelder Au quarter via a ground lease agreement with Hamburg Invest. Comprising approx. 20,000 m², the plot on Kurt-Oldenburg-Strasse will be developed into two buildings featuring a total leasable space of 10,000 m² and a variety of uses. The larger of the two buildings will comprise about 7,000 m² of leasable space, and ADOLF WEBER has already signed a lease agreement with VIVATIS Arzneimittel GmbH (VIVATIS), a national healthcare service provider supplying e.g. pharmacies as well as pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. The second building will be let to skilled tradesmen and small businesses as part of a commercial courtyard.

Coloplast is a company active in the medical supply sector. This local company was able to relocate within Hamburg thanks to the redevelopment of brownfield sites in an old industrial area in the district of Wandsbek – thus preventing Coloplast from resettling elsewhere.

In an effort to strengthen ties between business and science, a haven for startups and young, technology-driven companies is being developed in the immediate vicinity of the DESY Innovation Factory II startup and research centre. Located at Vorhornweg, tecHHub is scheduled to provide a building complex with about 10,000 square metres of gross floor space. There will be approx. 60% of lab space, alongside office and networking spaces. The project is aimed at providing the highest levels of flexibility to future users of the site. tecHHub is scheduled for completion in 2025, i.e. around the same time as the DESY Innovation Factory II.

Wärtsilä/SAM Electronics
This Finnish company specialises in highly complex electronic ship systems. As a result of changing spatial requirements and evolving technical demands, Wärtsilä/SAM Electronics was on the lookout for new office and technical testing space – and successfully settled in the district of Altona.

WEINMANN Emergency
With their mobile system solutions for emergency, transport and disaster medicine, Hamburg-based company WEINMANN Emergency is setting the bar in the area of life-saving equipment. In close collaboration with rescue service professionals, hospitals and ambulance services, the company develops innovative medical products for ventilation and defibrillation. At their Gasstrasse location in Altona, the company now intends to realise its wish for its own company headquarters in Hamburg.


Ascent Aerospace
Ascent Aerospace is a US-based group of companies with head offices in Michigan and about ten branches worldwide, including France, the UK and Germany. The company is dedicated to designing and integrating assembly lines for the aerospace industry. Following an initial meeting with stakeholders from the Hamburg Aviation cluster at the Salon du Bourget (Paris Air Show) in 2019, Hamburg Invest supported the company at the Hamburg location in collaboration with Hamburg Aviation.

Beflex GmbH
This company from Baden-Württemberg specialises in innovative small-batch electronics production and has established a prototyping centre in Hamburg in the fields of aviation, medical and industrial electronics.

QConnex GmbH
Smanos is a brand-new security system brand that was created, developed and designed in Europe by QConnex from China. Since 2001, the company has been a global innovator and developer of wireless smart home solutions, ranging from DIY security solutions to complex home control systems and AI-based health management systems.

EnergyNest, a startup with head offices in Oslo, developed a thermal battery made of steel and concrete. It is intended to help energy-intensive companies on their path of decarbonisation and thus contribute to the energy transition. Compared to other market participants, the battery’s commercial product maturity is a unique selling point. Most recently, Siemens Energy entered into a long-term partnership with EnergyNest. Based on EnergyNest's battery solutions, it is intended to develop standardised thermal storage systems for industrial stakeholders.

HQW Precision GmbH
This China-based enterprise develops, manufactures and distributes high-end ball and roller bearings. In addition to mechanical and plant engineering, HQW’s clientele includes stakeholders from the automotive industry as well as aerospace and medical technology companies. In addition to its head office and logistics centre in Hamburg, HQW maintains development and production facilities near Würzburg and in Plymouth (UK). The company’s network of subsidiaries and sales partners extends from Italy to Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Lyric Automation Germany GmbH
This company is active in the area of importing and exporting automated high-precision equipment, such as industrial robots, batteries for e-mobility and high-speed trains. The Hamburg office is in charge of global research, sales and development. The parent company is Guangdong Liyuanheng Intelligent Automation Co. Ltd.

MingYang Wind Power Group Limited
This leading wind turbine manufacturer from China maintains a branch in Denmark and has now established a business and engineering centre in Hamburg. According to current planning, the Hamburg site will be expanded further in the course of this year.

SmileDirectClub Inc. (Nasdaq: SDC)
This US-based company operates an innovative direct-to-consumer medical technology platform. SmileDirectClub Inc. is the global market leader in the direct sale of invisible dental trays (aligners). As part of aligner therapy, patients wear transparent dental trays for up to 22 hours a day to correct slight misalignments of teeth. Today, more than one million customers worldwide have the opportunity to visit an SDC outlet to have a model of their jaw created using an intraoral scan.

Vässla, Sweden’s number one manufacturer of electric scooters, decided to expand to Germany in 2019. From its Hamburg office, the company now coordinates its activities on the German market. Vässla aims to solve today’s urban mobility issues “in style”, offering Nordic design paired with a powerful electric engine and a long-lasting battery.

Outlook for 2021

As a result of the Covid crisis and its multi-faceted effects, Hamburg Invest's international relocation business has changed significantly. Throughout 2020, any travel activities, trade fair participations, roadshows with seminars, presentations and one-on-one meetings were cancelled without exception. By taking part in and organising digital formats for various target groups across different source markets and regions, Hamburg Invest managed to establish new contacts, albeit very limited in number. Likewise, 2020 saw no delegation trips to Hamburg by international investors. Against the backdrop of the ongoing restrictions on travel and events in the current year, it is expected that this line of business in particular will face major challenges in 2021.

When it comes to the business development of Hamburg-based companies, the outlook is considerably more positive. In 2020, Hamburg’s market for logistics and warehouse space, for instance, achieved a floor-space turnover of 488,000 m² – exceeding the preceding year's result by more than 31% and thus confirming the fact that demand continues to be very high. Some relief will be provided by the current reallocation of the 26.6 hectares of land available in the context of the Hub+ Neuland climate model project, catering for Hamburg’s innovative sectors of the economy as well as pioneering stakeholders from logistics. Businesses have the opportunity to express their interest until mid-March. For other sites the awarding process is also nearing completion, e.g. with renowned logistics companies and medical technology companies involved.

What is more, there has been pronounced interest in spaces located in close proximity to research and science facilities, and especially those from highly innovative industries. This is a field of expertise that is deemed particularly relevant by Hamburg Invest. Therefore, Hamburg Invest is keeping a firm focus on technologies that contribute to developing Hamburg as a sustainable business location, such as new mobility solutions and the hydrogen sector.

In this regard, Hamburg Invest collaborates particularly closely with Hamburg Marketing GmbH. Here, current projects include e.g. the Future Hamburg Award, which calls on founders from around the globe to present their business models for the sustainable and liveable city of the future. The winning startups will have the opportunity to further develop their innovations in Silicon Valley and implement their solutions on-site in Hamburg.