Bavaria is one of Europe’s locomotives in terms of economic power. From aerospace to interactive media, over automotive and green techs: SMEs are Bavaria’s backbone.

While Bavaria is a popular place to invest and in demand as a trading partner and provider of products and services on an EU level, the same holds true on a global scale as well. Every second euro in the state’s economy is generated from export. The most important trade partners are the USA, China and Austria. The most popular Bavarian exports are automobiles, chemical products, electronics and machines.

With a gross national product of 610 billion euros (2020), Bavaria’s economy ranks number eight within the EU.  It’s no wonder that Bavaria, at 3.6% (2020), has the lowest unemployment rate in Germany. Germany’s national unemployment averaged 5.9% in 2020, which is outstanding in a European comparison: in the same year, the average unemployment rate in the EU was 7.1%. 

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Bavaria’s SMEs, a.k.a. the “Mittelstand 

SMEs are the backbone of the Bavarian economy and represent a guarantee for prosperity, future-oriented jobs and training opportunities. With 600,000 companies which provide 3.6 million jobs falling under social security coverage, SMEs are dynamic and highly productive all over Bavaria. With 190,000 vocational training positions, the dual training system is a success story among SMEs as well: it not only is the basis for Germany’s success as an export nation, it is developing into an export hit itself. 

Small and medium-sized companies are just as successful in rural areas as they are in urban settings, covering the widest variety of sectors from industry, commerce, crafts and trades, tourism, the services industry and freelance professions. This means that every investor has access to a broad spectrum of innovative suppliers, buyers and cooperation partners. 

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Aerospace & Satellite Navigation

Bavaria is home to world-leading OEMs as well as to a large number of suppliers and engineering services, manufacturers of special equipment, world class research facilities and educational institutions. Focuses include the construction of aeroplanes, aircraft engines, helicopters and spaceships. Satellite navigation is another core field. Bavaria’s around 550 aerospace companies employ around 36,000 engineers, technicians and industrial specialists – around one third of those working in this sector in Germany. They generate annual sales of around EUR 7 billion. When those employed in the air transport sector are included, the industry counts well over 60,000 staff. The “Bavarian Strategy on Aeronautics 2030” aims at asserting and strengthening Bavaria’s top position as one of the leading aerospace locations worldwide.

Film Production & Gaming Industry

Bavaria counts more than 3300 companies in the motion picture industry, which makes Bavaria one of Germany’s leading locations of the sector. In the film production branch, Bavaria offers outstanding financial support, among others through FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, one of the most successful organisations in this field. Munich also hosts headquarters of Germany’s most prominent broadcasters – Bayerischer Rundfunk, ProSiebenSat-1, ZDF, Eurosport just to name a few. 40% of the largest production companies for advertising videos in Germany have offices in Munich. Bavaria also provides top support for cultural and educational games. Munich’s information and communications and media sectors generate around EUR 70 billion.

MedienCampus Bayern e.V., an umbrella group and coordination point for media education and further training in Bavaria, coordinates and networks educational opportunities, helping the sector in Bavaria to find plenty of media people with excellent training in all fields.

Green Technologies

As a cross-sectoral industry, environmental technology plays a key role in developing business and society in a way that will be sustainable in the long term. Bavaria offers top conditions for stakeholders in the field of environmental technology. 2,000 small and medium-sized companies are based in Bavaria (roughly 20% of all German companies), from every field of environmental technology, including the waste economy, soil remediation, water treatment, air pollution control and regenerative energy technologies


Bavarian innovations have highly influenced the automotive sector since the late 19th century. Today, electric mobility and lightweight design are where Bavaria shows its greatest innovative power. All significant international automotive suppliers have branches in Bavaria. 1,100 companies are part of the Bavarian automotive cluster. They generate over 100 bn Euros in yearly turnover, employ close to 200,000 persons and produce 25% of cars manufactured in Germany. Bavaria’s universities act as a talent pool and source of innovation for the automotive sector, while the state’s dual education system ensures that the next generation receives excellent training, in areas such as production and automotive trading. With the M•A•I Carbon cluster, the Munich-Augsburg-Ingolstadt region is being established as a European centre for fibre-reinforced plastics.