Saxony's Economy - A Success Story


Already in the 18th century, the Industrial Age began in Saxony with the founding of the first machine construction companies. The region, thus, headed the field on the European mainland. The first locomotive to be designed and engineered in Germany, the first six-cylinder engine, the centrally positioned gearshift lever in automobiles – all of these pioneering innovations come from Saxony. In the mid-19th century, the industrial cities Chemnitz, Zwickau, and their suburbs were the region with Europe’s highest per-capita income.

And the success story continues: Since 1990, about 6,000 companies have set up or purchased business premises in Saxony. Saxony’s economy has increased by more than 30 percent since 2000; thus, exhibiting one of the highest GDP growth rates of all German federal states. 

Diagram: Saxony's GDP 1991 - 2020

Source: Statistical Office of the Federal State of Saxony


In 2020, Saxony’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 125,600 million euros (at current prices; 2,6 percent less than 2019) and was generated in about 2,797 million working hours by 2.05 million gainfully employed persons whose workplace was in the Federal State. Per working hour, this resulted in a GDP at current prices of 44.90 euros – which is equivalent to a real increase of 0.6 percent compared to the previous year. Last year’s GDP per gainfully employed person amounted to 61,287 euros which was 3.4 percent lower than in 2019.

Since 2000, Saxony’s economy has increased by more than 30 percent; it, thus, exhibits one of the highest GDP growth rates among all German federal states.


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    SAXONY! - A Business Location at its Best

    There are many good reasons why the region in the heart of Europe is a top location for such globally active companies as Volkswagen, BMW and Porsche, Infineon and GLOBALFOUNDRIES, DHL, or BOSCH.


Vibrant industrial branches form the backbone of the business venue Saxony. Its top selling branches include the automobile industry, machine and plant construction as well as the microelectronics / ICT sector.

In addition to these sectors, which essentially determine the economic structure, the business venue Saxony is also characterized by such branches as, for example, environmental / energy technology, life sciences, or rail and aerospace technology as well as such company-related service sectors as, for example, logistics or the software industry.


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Diagram: Saxony‘s  Most Important Branches – Share of Saxony‘s Industrial Turnover (2020)


In 2020, Saxony's industry (results for enterprises with 20 and more persons employed in the manufacturing trade as well as in mining and quarrying) generated a total turnover of 63,475 million euros; this fell below the previous year’s value by 6.1 percent. Domestic business, thus, decreased by 0.9 percent, foreign sales by 7.5 percent. The export rate, i.e. the proportion of foreign sales of the total turnover, amounted to 37.5 percent (previous year: 36.7 percent).

The most important industrial branch continues to be the automobile industry with a share of 24.9 percent of all sales. It is followed by the metal production sector and the electrical engineering / microelectronics branches with a share of 13 percent respectively 12.6 percent, as well as by machine construction with a share of 11.5 percent of Saxony's industrial turnover.


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Saxony’s foreign trade reached an export volume of 36,7919 million euros in 2020. Compared to 2019, this equals an decrease of 8.6 percent. In 2020 as well, Saxony’s largest export partner continued to be China. 

Saxony’s imports slightly decreased by 0.5 percent and reached a volume of 26,648 million euros. About 62 percent of all imports came from EU member states, of which more than one quarter came from Saxony’s most significant import partner – the Czech Republic.  



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Im Rahmen des Exzellenzclusters „cfaed“ wird auch an der Echtzeit-Interaktion von Robotern und Menschen geforscht. „Versuchsobjekt“ ist ein gestengesteuerter NAO-Roboter (im Bild), der zukünftig zum Beispiel im Haushalt helfen könnte.

Source: Dresden University of Technology / cfaed / 5G Lab Germany, photo: Matthias Hahndorf

Saxony's Innovative Power

A great plus for Saxony is its extraordinary innovative power. The region is a European "innovation leader" (source: EU’s "Regional Innovation Scoreboard").

Saxony’s researchers and entrepreneurs play a decisive role in developing intelligent solutions for everyday use in the future. Their focus is on intersectoral topics such as lightweight engineering, energy storage technologies, electromobility or organic & flexible electronics.

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More about Saxony's Cross-sectoral fields of competence

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HZwo Network - Helping Fuel Cell Drive Systems Achieve the Breakthrough

Many German universities and institutes are researching alternative drive systems in order to achieve economically and ecologically viable mobility. When breaking the topic down to the level of fuel cell drive systems and powertrains, then only a few institutions remain. Chemnitz University of Technology is one of them. It is here where Prof. Dr. Thomas von Unwerth established the Professorship of Advanced Powertrains in 2010 and put the topic hydrogen fuel cell drive systems into the focus of research. At that time he could already look back on a decade of experience in this field. He earned this competence in the corporate research of Volkswagen and while working, for example, also on the creation of a fuel cell vehicle fleet for the 2008 Summer Olympics in China.

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