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Attractive not only for the British: The number of foreign-owned companies in Bonn and the region is increasing

Attractive not only for the British : The number of foreign-owned companies in Bonn and the region is increasing

In Bonn and Rhine-Sieg, the number of foreign-owned companies is increasing. This is shown in a study presented by the Chamber of Commerce on Friday. In addition to Bonn, a city in the Rhine-Sieg area also scores especially well with companies from abroad.

Goodarz Mahbobi is founder and managing director of the IT consulting company Axxessio GmbH in Bad Godesberg. He finds the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg region perfect for entrepreneurial businesses. "Bonn has all the advantages of a capital, and the disadvantages are gone," jokes the Iranian. The good infrastructure, the headquarters of DAX companies and the universities were the reasons for him to locate his company in the region.

Like Mahbobi, many other non-German entrepreneurs are in the same situation: 5,440 of the 55,258 member companies of the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) are of foreign origin. This means that almost every tenth IHK member company in the city of Bonn and in the Rhine-Sieg district is run by a foreign national or has a majority of foreign share capital. This is shown in a study presented by the IHK on Friday. Since 2016, when the survey was last conducted, the number of foreign companies has risen by eleven percent.

Open-mindedness and economic potential

"Bonn and the region are cosmopolitan, are characterized by many different nationalities and it is the only German United Nations location with a unique selling point that also promises economic potential," said IHK General Manager Hubertus Hille.

Of the 5,440 foreign companies listed, 849 are entered in the commercial register (HR companies) and 4,591 are so-called small businesses, which do not need to prepare annual balance sheets due to the smaller volume of business. They also benefit from other simplifications.

The foreign companies of the IHK area come from 135 countries. Enterprises from the USA form the largest group of foreign companies with 90 in the registry. Switzerland (88), Great Britain (77) and the Netherlands (70) follow. The largest groups among small businesses are Poles (651), followed by Turks (632), Italians (309) and Romanians (300).

The number of companies from Greater China (China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) recorded the strongest growth of 266 percent between 2013 and 2019. Overall, eight percent of all foreign companies in the region come from China.

The British now form the third largest group among the foreign companies recorded in the commercial register. Between 2013 and 2016 their number increased by eleven percent, and between 2016 and 2019 by 60 percent. The Brexit is casting its shadows in advance: "British companies are looking for alternatives in order to be able to continue to be active on the EU market without border clearance and controls" said IHK foreign trade expert Armin Heider: In 2013, the Netherlands and the Austrians played a much more important role. The number of companies from EU countries grew only slightly: Austria by four percent; France by two percent. The number of Italian companies even decreased by 25 percent, the number of Belgians by 16 percent.

Troisdorf has a high proportion of foreign-owned companies

Apart from Bonn, Troisdorf in particular has a high proportion of foreign-owned companies: 15.9 per cent of larger companies and eleven per cent of small businesses. Hille attributes this to a successful economy. In addition to its ideal location next to the autobahn and the airport, Troisdorf has sufficient space for companies to locate due to the structural change as a former industrial location.

One challenge for the location as a host to international firms is the shortage of skilled workers - the establishment of a welcome culture also plays an important role: "We all have to make it clear why we need so many skilled workers from abroad as well," says Mahbobi.

Mahbobi sees the high number of Iranian companies, with a total of 155, as being rooted in the history after the revolution in Tehran in 1979, when many Iranians left or were forced to leave the country. Bonn, the capital of Germany, has a special attraction because Iranians have lived here for many years: "Iranian economic culture is very similar to that of the Americans - Persians have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and often prefer to run a business rather than be an employee.”

(Orig. text: Claudia Mahnke /Translation: Carol Kloeppel)