From Automotive to Quantum Computing: Top Investments 2021 in Bavaria Under the Sign of Cross-Industry Innovation

Despite the continuing adverse impact in 2021 of the Covid pandemic on global fdi activity, Bavaria again succeeded to attract companies from around the globe. The range of fdi projects attracted to Bavaria covers varied industries — from aerospace to XR technologies —, the common denominator was Bavaria’s appeal as a major international tech hub and the associated market and business opportunities for cross-industry innovation.

January 2022

Bavaria – a preferred location for global players

The most high-profile fdi activity in 2021 was the announcement by Apple, the global tech giant, to invest more than US$ 1 billion over the coming three years to further expand its Munich research and development hub, creating an additional 1 000 plus jobs in the process. Munich was also the location of choice for Canada’s CGI, one of the world’s leading IT and business consultancies. Headquartered in Montreal CGI, which operates from about 400 locations worldwide, will set up a third location in Munich, where it has a presence for more than 20 years, with an additional 220 jobs.

Bavaria’s preeminence in the mobility sector and Munich’s role as Germany’s national mobility hub was further underlined by the relocation of the International Mobility Show IAA from Frankfurt to Munich. Along with the move went a radical reshaping of the IAA’s concept in cooperation with local stakeholders, away from a mere motor show towards an holistic event with the focus on sustainable mobility.

GWM unveils new model at IAA MOBILITY 2021 © IAA MOBILITY

Sustainable mobility is also the ambition of Great Wall Motor (GMW), the Chinese car maker who in 2021 established its European headquarters in Munich. At its new location GWM will invest some Euro 300 million and recruit around 270 specialists to carry out research and development in electromobility. At IAA Mobility 2021 GWM unveiled the latest models of its ORA and WEY brands.

Cross-Industry Innovation: Bavaria as a hub for future oriented technologies

Aside from major global players, Bavaria succeeded 2021 to attract a range of international technology companies and start-ups. Noticeable among these is the fact that their products, solutions and services are not specifically aimed just at a single sector or industry but can be applied across a range of industries. Outstanding examples here are ExOne, Manus VR, Autocrypt and Cambridge Quantum.

ExOne, a global leader for 3D printing system based on binder jetting technology, established a Metal 3D Printing Center at its European HQ at Gersthofen in Bavaria’s Swabia region. The center now offers European manufacturers end-to-end services for the introduction of binder jetting, design support as well as material, process and work cell development. With the new center, the US company offers its inter-sectoral customers the opportunity to test 3D printers for their own designs. Besides to the new ExOne 3D Printing Adoption Center in Bavaria, there are two other locations worldwide in the US and Japan.

Dutch company Manus VR develops sensor-equipped gloves to visualize movements and processes (motion capture). The virtual reality-based technology can be used in a wide range of industries. The focus at its new location in Munich will be especially on robotics and healthcare.

Autocrypt, a Seoul-based South Korean company, is also working with a cross-industry approach. Founded in 2019, the start-up combines mobility with IT security to ensure the safety of mobility solutions of the future through intelligent networking: Its applications range from processes in vehicles themselves to communication with other traffic participants and networking in the field of parking and charging management.

The UK’s Cambridge Quantum in June merged with Honeywell Quantum Solutions , thus creating — by its own account – the world’s largest provider in quantum computing solutions. Enticed by Bavaria’s burgeoning quantum technology ecosystem (“The most exciting [QT] hub”, according to Cambridge Quantum’s founder and CEO Ilyas Kahn), the company has started to set up a major R&D center for applications and solutions like quantum chemistry, quantum machine learning or quantum cybersecurity. Cambridge Quantum – just like ExOne, Manus VR and Autocrypt – are classic examples for the application of cross-industry innovation and its benefits from Bavaria’s the strong B2B sector.

More than a buzzword in Bavaria: sustainability

Sustainability is one of the big trends in 2021, but how much of it is actually implemented in companies and the economy at large? Three new arrivals in Bavaria in 2021 bring very specific applications, albeit in completely different sectors: One of them, Hypersonix, a sustainable SpaceTech company from Australia, counteracts the increase in space scrap and resource scarcity by developing a reusable hydrogen-powered launch vehicle as well as components and launch-landing systems. Hypersonix is headquartered in Brisbane and opened its first international branch in Munich.

Hypermotive also focuses on sustainability in the emobility sector, but on land and at sea. With its new R&D center at Großostheim in the northern Bavaria (Lower Franconia), the company relies on Bavarian expertise in the mobility sector, in the shape of cooperation with local partners – also with a view to meet the challenges of Brexit. Hypermotive develops fuel cell and battery systems with a particular focus on the automotive, motorsport and marine sectors.

Vortex Companies from the United States also works on sustainability, specifically the cost-effective renewal of municipal, industrial and commercial infrastructure. The Texas-based company, which opened its new branch in Munich, develops special cement that can be used to line dilapidated pipelines without the need to tear up roads or buildings. The portfolio also includes a robotics system for the rehabilitation of sewage pipes.

Ois Easy – individual support for international start-ups

In 2021, the Ois Easy programme by Invest in Bavaria again enabled a number of international start-ups to gain a foothold in Bavaria and Germany. The free-of-charge support scheme, which is individually tailored, includes co-working space in one of Bavaria’s 28 digital start-up centers, valuable contacts to potential partners and coaching from the start-up network BayStartUP.

Successful “graduates” of the “Ois Easy” program in 2021 included bitsCrunch from India and Lumnion from Turkey. The former offers AI-based security services to protect NFT marketplaces by using blockchain technology. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are used for digital documents such as patents or licences to make them forgery-proof. bitsCrunch’s new Munich unit is its first international office.

Lumnion is a participant of both the Ois Easy scheme and the Next Enterprise Programme of InsurTech Hub Munich. The InsurTech start-up, which specialises in AI-supported modelling of cost-risk factors, is currently based in the WERK1 business incubator and plans to open its own office soon. The company benefits from the strong InsurTech industry in Bavaria and has already won insurance majors like Allianz and Munich RE as clients.

Bavaria: a safe location for companies even in times of crisis

The Corona pandemic forced companies worldwide to push ahead with digitalization and develop new approaches in terms of communication, organization and business models. This can also be a catalyst for opportunities and innovations. Bavaria provides a secure base with its well-developed research landscape, its prosperous (b2b) economy, reliable infrastructure and state policies that guarantee favorable business and trading conditions. In short: The ideal location for cross-industry-innovation.