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: 20 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 712,100 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
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.
Among the SMEs in NRW there is many a hidden treasure: 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
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.