GTAI’s northernmost overseas office in Helsinki has been run by Marc Lehnfeld since 2016. It surveys market activities for Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and is the first contact point for local firms interested in expanding to Germany. The close cooperation between GTAI, the German-Finnish Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and the German embassy boosts Germany’s visibility in the northern territories.
Mr. Lehnfeld, how would you characterize the Finnish economy?
Marc Lehnfeld: In Germany, Finland is well-known for its sauna culture, beautiful nature and large forests. The forest industry is still the country’s largest export sector but the chemical, mining and metal industries also play an important role. Nokia is once again Finland’s largest company and IT is still an important field with many startups entering the market.
What attracts Finnish investors to Germany as a business location?
Lehnfeld: Germany is the largest European economy and that means a lot to Finnish companies, whose home market consists of only 5.5m inhabitants. Also, Germany is a technology market with important target sectors like the automotive, chemical, machinery and metal industries. Many Finnish IT companies offer competitive products and services for Germany’s fast-growing IoT segment. Finnish companies appreciate the similar business culture and the historically strong relations.