Economic performance of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region continues growth course

Hamburg Business Development Corporation: 5,258 jobs newly created or secured in Hamburg

Economic performance of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region continues growth course

The economic performance of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region continues its growth course. This is the result of a new survey conducted by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI). In Hamburg, the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF) particularly contributed to this success last year by securing or newly creating 5,258 (2011: 4,375) jobs. 97 (2011: 96) companies from home or abroad were newly acquired or supported in their expansion. The companies serviced by HWF created 1,129 (2011: 935) new jobs. In addition, 4,129 existing jobs were secured. Thus, investments totalling 351.36 million euro (2011: 179.49) were boosted. Compared to 2011, individual projects grew again in size. The advisory services offered by the ”Mittelstandstandslotsin“ (SME pilot) and her team were especially appreciated by medium-sized companies. In 2012, 396 companies (2011: 313) were helped with major or minor problems.

Jutta Ludwig, CEO of HWF, is pleased about the result: "We enjoyed a positive growth in all areas. Despite an increasingly difficult economic environment, Hamburg’s economy is on the right track for sustainable growth." Frank Horch, Hamburg Minister of Economy, Transport, and Innovation, adds: "The HWF achieved particularly good results compared to 2011. This shows that Hamburg is still a highly attractive business location. The cluster policy pursued by the Hamburg Senate has once again proven right."

HWF’s annual press conference took place in the new Allianz headquarters at City Nord. The search for a new site of the insurance company Allianz had been a major HWF project in 2012. Following extensive renovation works to meet the latest energy standards, the company moved into its new premises at Kapstadtring 2 last December. Kai Berrer, chairman of the regional board northwest: "Having been at home in Hamburg since 1919, we are pleased to continue this tradition with our new premises at Kapstadtring." Berrer pointed out that the 1,700 employees of Allianz now work in a renovated building requiring 60 per cent less energy and emitting less CO2 than before the entire overhaul. "Also in regard to environmental issues, we in Hamburg are among the leaders of the entire group."

Hamburg in competition

The Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) recently compared the competitiveness of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region with the metropolitan regions of Frankfurt/Rhine-Main, Munich, and Stuttgart. These three regions are the strongest economic rivals of Hamburg. The result: the economic performance of Hamburg is on the right track for growth. "The gross value has been growing across all sectors in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Industrial production was 11.5 per cent higher in 2010 than ten years earlier. The corresponding growth rate within the services sector amounted to 23.6 per cent", thus HWWI.

Hamburg’s unique specialisation assets in high-growth industry offer favourable conditions for future economic growth and connection with the competitors. According to HWWI, future growth in Hamburg will be particularly stimulated by the aviation industry – with 40,000 staff in the aviation cluster – and medical technology as part of the life sciences. Both sectors are knowledge-intensive industries, with high-tech companies and leading-edge technology players dominating the exports. Both sectors drive the opening of new markets abroad.

Still, the economic growth in the metropolitan regions of Germany’s south was stronger than in Hamburg. This is, inter alia, due to the fact that the economic structure of these southern German metropolitan regions is characterised by knowledge-intensive industries.

Already today, the individual sectors in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region strongly influence each other’s development. Industrial enterprises will play an increasingly important role as driving forces in the development of the services industry. Jutta Ludwig comments on the results of the study: "Based on the HWWI survey, the HWF will focus its policy even more intensely on the needs of research-intensive industries and other knowledge-intensive sectors. Applied sciences also play a particularly important role in Hamburg."

HWF results

Last year, 75 (2011: 71) companies relocated to Hamburg with support of HWF. Largest source market was Germany with 20 acquisitions. 16 companies came from Russia and CIS states. Taking also into account five acquisitions from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic, the states from Central and Eastern Europe formed HWF’s most important market in 2012. Jutta Ludwig: "The launch of Russia’s WTO membership on 22 August 2012 provided an important stimulus for trade relations with Europe. The dismantling of trade barriers strengthens Hamburg’s role as the leading hub of Russia’s trade with the European Union and the world." Hence, the Port of Hamburg experienced a strong rise of Russian transhipment via Hamburg.

From Asia, 15 companies moved to Hamburg in 2012, including four firms from India. Most vital Western European source market was Denmark with four acquisitions. Belgium, France, and Norway account for further six acquisitions. North America accounted for eight acquisitions, Latin America for further three. Also, one company from South Africa also moved to Hamburg.

A focal target group of HWF’s business developers also in 2012 were companies active in Hamburg’s growth industries renewable energies and media, IT, and telecommunications (MITT).

In the sector of renewable energies, the Linuo Group from North China inaugurated European headquarters in Hamburg last year. The Linuo Europe GmbH is part of the Jinan-based Linuo Group (chemicals, pharmaceuticals, glass, solar). In 2011, its more than 13,000 employees in over 50 subsidiaries and 28 production sites generated sales of more than 1.8 billion US$. After a review of several European locations, Hamburg was chosen as European headquarters. The decision was announced on 7 August 2012 by Gao Yuankun, President of Linuo Group. Already on 21 September 2012, the office at Osterbekkanal has been inaugurated. Linuo Group’s M&A activities will also be co-ordinated from Hamburg.

Another interesting international relocation came from the MITT sector with the acquisition of Airbnb Germany SH GmbH (Airbnb). A branch of the US-American online service platform for private vacation rentals AirBed & Breakfast Inc. from San Francisco, it is one of the fast growing Internet companies. Having employed a staff of 50 already very shortly after its start of operations, the company continues to expand and plans to recruit further 50 staff in the long term. Airbnb opened its Hamburg office in the immediate neighbourhood of the US Internet company Facebook.

In the field of activities for companies already present in Hamburg, a shift of emphasis in HWF’s work has been marking the past years. The importance of consultancy to medium-sized companies increased significantly.

In total, HWF offered consultancy to 396 (2011: 313) companies in 2012. 104 firms sought the advice of Hamburg’s SME pilot. 22 (2011: 25) Hamburg-based companies were supported in their expansion. With 663 (2011: 489) new jobs, they significantly contributed to HWF’s results.

One of the companies supported by HWF in its expansion was the Hamburg-based Becking AG.

Becking AG is a long-established speciality coffee roaster that has been processing high-quality Arabica beans in Hamburg since 1928 and been selling the coffee under their own label. Currently leasing a property in Altona, with the production at home in Oststeinbek, the company plans to move the roasting process from Oststeinbeck to Hamburg, and also to centralise the distribution of its coffee bags, today handled by a services provider, in Hamburg. At the company’s new premises Leuna-/Leverkusen-/Schützenstraße, the entire production, logistics, distribution, and management will new be housed under one roof.

HWF also supported the construction of the new entertainment house, erected by AUG. PRIEN Immobilien at Hamburg-St. Pauli on the corner of Große Freiheit and Simon-von-Utrecht-Straße. The architecture of the six-storey building with a basement for the entertainment industry and start-up perfectly blends into the striking, high-contrast cityscape of St. Pauli. A buffer between the entertainment and residential area, the building also serves as a shield, protecting future housing at the Pestalozzi-Quartier.

Marquard & Bahls AG is an internationally active group in the trade of crude oil products and commercial storage tanks for petroleum and chemical products. Since 1947, its global headquarters are at home in Hamburg. In addition, the company is active in the following fields: renewable energies, gas distribution and oil analysis. HWF helped to acquire the premises for new headquarters at HafenCity.

Gebrüder Heinemann: To extend headquarters at Koreastraße 3, the company plans a new building for 300 staff at the corner of Koreastraße / Shanghaiallee. The administrative building with 8,000 sq m of gross floor space on eight or nine storeys is scheduled to be completed by 2015. An international architecture contest is currently taking place. HWF is accompanying the expansion project.

Besides the traditional services of the road and civil engineering company, Max Wiede GmbH also offers to clients consultancy and design of construction projects. HWF help to move the business to new premises and provided a plot in the industrial park of Allermöhe.

Northern German co-operation

The Hamburg Metropolitan Region offers numerous starting points to benefit from the advantages offered by the functional spatial division of labours between urban centres and less densely populated area, for example in the provision of sites or premises. This is another result of the HWWI survey.

The co-operation of the business developers is thus of vital importance. In 2012, they moved a big step forward.

On 24 September 2012, the business developers of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region provided their co-operation with a new contractual basis. Based on the agreement, the Economic Development Council was expanded by the business development corporations of Lübeck, Neumünster, East Holstein, Southwest Mecklenburg, Northwest Mecklenburg and the State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. New members also include the newly founded business development corporation of the district of Segeberg mbH and EGNO Development Corporation Norderstedt mbH.

Focal points of co-operation in 2013 will be professionals, marketing of industrial sites, and internationalisation.


Since 1 January 2013, HWF has been working under the roof of a new holding, also incorporating Hamburg Marketing GmbH and Hamburg Tourism GmbH. For all companies, new central departments for accounting, IT, human resources, and organisation have been created. Public relations and corporate communications are also centralised in the holding.

In the current year, the co-operation is even more intensified. An overall marketing strategy has been developed for the years 2013 – 2018, with action plans being modified accordingly.

In case of any questions, please contact

Andreas Köpke
Mobile: +49 17 24 15 99 96