Throughout the financial crises of recent years, one European country has appeared to weather the storm better than most – in fact almost steadying the ship for the others in the process. That country is Germany, and more than ever it is proving to be a key marketplace for British companies. If your business exports and you are looking for it to grow, then you should consider taking a trip to the continent’s economic powerhouse. So, grab your luggage, load a travel currency card with Euros, and pay Germany a visit.
Germany at a glance
You only need to take a look at the passenger figures for Heathrow Airport to get an idea of the increasing role that Germany is playing in the life of the British business traveller. New York, Dubai and Dublin top the chart for passengers flying to and from the London hub: New York is no surprise- the two cities are like peas in a pod; Dubai has risen as a major connecting hub for onward flights to Australia and the Far East; and the Irish capital has very many personal and political links with London, not to mention a wide tourist appeal.
But pipping the equally tourist friendly and highly populated cities of Amsterdam and Hong Kong to fourth place is Frankfurt. Frankfurt is a lovely city but even in its own country it is not a leading draw for tourists, or somewhere that the UK shares strong family ties with. Which can mean only one thing – many of the 1.5 million people who travel between the two cities each year are doing so on business.
Meanwhile Munich performs pretty well from Heathrow too – chasing the tail of Paris and Chicago, and sitting ahead of the biggest cities in Canada, India and Italy. A similar pattern can be seen at other UK airports, where Frankfurt and Munich are among the busiest routes from the likes of Manchester and Edinburgh.
But airline passenger numbers are just a side line of the story – the really juicy bits are in the UK’s export data. Germany has overtaken the USA as the UK’s biggest export market, and the feeling seems to be mutual as Britain is fast gaining on France’s position as the biggest importer of German products.
Anglo-German fruitful relationship
Among the big Anglo-German business relationships existing are the BMW engines built by BWM near Birmingham and the turbines made in Britain by Siemens and exported back to the company’s homeland in Germany, but there are many more examples involving small, niche, companies and global conglomerates alike.
With current political leaders Angela Merkel and David Cameron sharing similar world views, it looks like trade between the UK and Germany could continue to be healthy for some time therefore the German market is certainly worth exploring.
Cross-border business relationship is often required to grow your business. When you nurture the possibilities, be sure you are aware of the often-underestimated factors, such as culture gap, local regulations regarding foreign investment, and so on.