The metropolitan area between Leipzig, Dresden and Jena has developed into a dynamic economic area in the decades since German reunification. With its well-developed road and rail infrastructure, the metropolitan region is an interface between Western and Eastern Europe and also offers highly specialized professionals various career entry opportunities.
With the end of the GDR and the associated collapse of almost all industrial production, companies from the old federal states settled in Leipzig. That is why Siemens, Porsche and BMW as well as their suppliers are represented here with production facilities and have established Leipzig as an automobile location. In addition, companies from the communications and information sectors have settled here. The listed Softline AG, an IT consulting company, or Mercateo Deutschland AG, an operator of trading platforms on the Internet, can be mentioned here.
The Leipzig region is also an important center of the energy industry and therefore also describes itself as the energy metropolis of Leipzig. The most visible and prominent example of this is the European Energy Exchange (EEX), which is the largest energy exchange on mainland Europe.
„Central German chemical triangle“
In the 19th century, in the course of opencast lignite mining, a chemical industry cluster developed in the area of the cities of Halle (Saale), Merseburg and Bitterfeld, which later became one of the central pillars of the GDR economy. Even after reunification, companies from the chemical industry are represented here and have coined the name “Central German Chemical Triangle” for this region. There are essentially three locations: Schkopau with Dow Olefinverbund GmbH, Böhlen, Leuna and Teutschenthal with the Central German Erdoel Refinery and the Total Refinery Central Germany, as well as the Bitterfeld-Wolfen chemical park. This chemical park is a heavyweight in the chemical industry of the Federal Republic because of its total area of approx. 1200 ha. Around 360 national and international companies, around 60 of which also produce in Bitterfeld, have their processing plants here, e.g.
- B. Akzo Nobel Industrial Chemical GmbH
- Bayer Bitterfeld GmbH
- BVT Chemical GmbH
- Dow Wolff Cellulosics GmbH
- Evonik Industries AG
- Heraeus Quartz Glass GmbH & Co. KG
- Linde Gas Products GmbH & Co. KG
State Capital Dresden
Dresden and its surroundings are one of the economically strongest areas in the new federal states. In addition to the state administration, public institutions and associations, Dresden is an important research and science location. Dresden is traditionally a stronghold of microelectronics. In recent years there have also been young companies from the fields of new materials, biotechnology and nanotechnology.
Due to the possibilities of close cooperation between industry and the universities and research institutes located here, the city is increasingly developing into one of the leading centers of semiconductor production in Europe. Infineon has been operating a semiconductor production facility in Dresden for years and plans to further expand it in the coming years. In 2021, Bosch opened one of the most modern chip factories in the world in Dresden. Around one billion euros have been invested in a high-tech production facility that will eventually employ 700 people.
The interlocking of business and research also makes Dresden a major development location. The Technical University of Dresden with its approximately 30,000 students plays an important role here. With an integrative research work in micro- and nanotechnology and the new materials, the goal has been set to become a leading location for nanoelectronics, which will ultimately represent a further quantum leap for electronic data processing.
The aviation industry is also represented in Dresden. The Elbe aircraft factory, part of the Airbus Group, converts passenger aircraft into cargo and tanker aircraft here. In addition, other companies in the group are supplied with fiber composite panels for aircraft interior panels from here. At the end of the 1990s, Volkswagen chose Dresden as the first and only location for the Transparent Factory. This facility was opened in 2001 and it was here that the VW Phaeton was manufactured. The VW ID.3 electric car is now produced here in a climate-neutral manner. The VW Group also has other locations for engine and vehicle production outside of Dresden, namely in Chemnitz and Zwickau.
Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt
The most important business location in Thuringia is Jena, which, as a historic international center of optics and photonics, also describes itself as the city of light. International companies such as Zeiss, Jenoptik AG and Schott have their headquarters here and work in English with research institutes such as the Fraunhofer Institute and the Leibnitz Institute. There are more than 100 companies and institutions with more than 1,000 scientists and developers in the field of optical technologies in the Jena area. Here, innovative solutions such as e.g. B. laser systems, laser scanning microscopes, optical and optoelectronic components and optical measuring systems are researched and developed.
The state capital of Saxony-Anhalt Magdeburg has a very heterogeneous economic structure. In addition to mechanical and plant engineering, the logistics sector, environmental technology and recycling management, the healthcare sector, the cultural and creative industries and the information and communication technology sector are among the most important economic focal points of the city. The logistics sector in particular is very well developed here, since Magdeburg, with its port at the intersection of the Elbe, Mittelland Canal and Elbe-Havel Canal, is a large German trimodal transhipment point for goods traffic. In the immediate vicinity of the port of Magdeburg, the largest logistics center in Saxony-Anhalt has been established with the Rothensee Industrial and Logistics Center (ILC) on an area of more than 300 hectares. More than 30 large industrial and logistics companies operate national and European distribution centers here.
In addition to the already mentioned logistics location Magdeburg, the second largest German cargo airport Leipzig-Halle plays an important role. Large logistics companies such as DHL, Amazon, Deutsche Post or Schenker have settled here with large distribution centers to handle national and global air freight traffic. DHL has designated the airport as the main European hub. According to the company, more than 6,000 people are now employed there, handling more than 2,000 tons of air freight per day.