Home of the world market leaders
  1. nrwglobalbusiness.com/invest
  2. NRW as location
  3. This speaks well for NRW
  4. Home of the world market leaders

Home of the world market leaders

One out of four German world market leaders comes from NRW. These champions and "hidden champions" come from all economic sectors. And that is not surprising if you look at the corporate landscape in North Rhine-Westphalia: 19 of the 50 highest grossing German companies are based in NRW. These include such renowned global players as Bayer, Bertelsmann, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, E.ON, Henkel and thyssenkrupp. In addition, 12 of the 40 largest retail companies such as Aldi, Metro and Rewe are based in NRW. But above all, around 711,600 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the economic backbone of the state. This broad economic base produces top achievements. Many of the companies are world market leaders and innovators in their segments. They are magnets for international firms because many investors are looking for cooperation partners in the development of products, production processes, service or research. These partners can be found in NRW.


Small but effective: North Rhine-Westphalia is the state of SMEs

ALOYS F. DORNBRACHT: World market leader for premium bathroom products

It is precisely this special mix of large corporations and SMEs that makes NRW the strongest industrial region in Europe and an ideal business location for manufacturers and suppliers. Südwestfalen and the Ruhr Metropolis in particular are home to large industrial enterprises of international standing as well as dozens of smaller companies that are leaders in their respective business segments.

Hidden Champions

ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS Best Performance: A leading manufacturer of cutlery

Among the SMEs in NRW, there are many hidden treasures: Many of the medium-sized, often family-run companies are considered to be "hidden champions", publicly little-known companies with international success. They focus on closely defined market segments and offer highly specialized, customized products and services in their respective niches. These include market leaders in their industries such as Beckhoff Automation, a specialist in automation technology, HELLA, a leading global automotive supplier, or Saertex, a leading manufacturer of innovative composite materials.


Germany's No.1 location for the largest family businesses

HARTING Technologiegruppe: Leading supplier of industrial connecting technology

The home of the most large family businesses in Germany is NRW. 1,195 family-run companies generating an annual turnover of at least 50 million euros have their headquarters here – more than one out of four in Germany (25.5 percent). Bavaria takes 2nd place with 19.5 percent and Baden-Württemberg 3rd place with 17.7 percent.

The largest family businesses in NRW include Bertelsmann, Claas, Henkel, Miele and Oetker. Many of these are market leaders in their respective segments. HARTING Technology Group, for example, is the world's leading supplier of industrial connection technology. HARTING has been a 100% family-owned company since its foundation in 1945, and in 2015, Philip Harting assumed the position of CEO in the third generation. HARTING develops, among other things, innovative concepts and devices for the digitization of industrial production.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions

NRW.Global Business GmbH
Trade & Investment Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf

Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.

NRW.Global Business News

Stay up to date by subscribing to our e-newsletter! You will find many interesting reports from the German business location No. 1 in the latest edition of the NRW.Global Business News.


10. Deutsch-Chinesischer Wirtschaftstag DCWT | Köln

All Events


"Cyber security in companies must be a matter for the boss"

As the war in Ukraine rages on, experts warn that German companies can also become the target of hackers. How great is this danger? Manuel Atug explains. He is a cyber security expert at the Cyber-Security Cluster Bonn.

All News