Jeans, phone, car, computer, MP3 format, beer: everyone knows these inventions. They all come from Germany – or Germans helped develop them. There is a long list of innovative ideas and inventions from Germany and the products they have resulted in. The quality seal Made in Germany stands for originality and quality. Another reason that German firms are so innovative is that around 80 billion euros are invested in research and development annually. Many companies are already on their way to Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, because the machines of the future will be able to make decisions on their own and will be closely networked.
Germany is the single largest economy in the European Union and after the USA, China, and Japan number four in the world. Naturally there are numerous major corporations and global players in Germany. But more than 99 percent of firms are small and medium-sized companies. Most people also work in the SME sector, and it is also where most young people learn a profession. Given that the economy is so successful, unemployment is low in Germany. The automobile industry is one of the trendsetters in the economy. Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Opel are major employers: 775,000 people work for the German automobile industry. The latest trend is self-driving cars, where you don’t need to steer or change gear. German manufacturers aspire to lead the field in automated vehicle functions and are investing a great deal in their development. German companies are also sector leaders in mechanical engineering, not to mention in the chemicals and optical industries.
Innovations are the engine driving the economy. Without them there would be no progress. There are 605,000 people working in research and development in Germany. In total, in 2014 exactly 116,702 German patents were in force.