Foreign-owned companies employing more people in Gothenburg

Woman working at Uni3 by Geely in Gothenburg
Photo: Frida Winter/Business Region Göteborg

Foreign-owned companies now employ just under 100,000 people in the Gothenburg region, with an increase seen both in the short and longer-term. Chinese, French, Dutch and Norwegian-owned companies top the list when it comes to number of employees in the region, shows Business Region Göteborg’s report Företagande 2021.

The report includes the latest statistics on the Gothenburg region’s foreign-owned companies.

In 2020, there were almost 2,200 foreign-owned companies in the Gothenburg region – 59 more than in the previous year. 

“The interest in Gothenburg is huge. I don’t think we’ve ever had so many big investment inquiries as we do now, and it could lead to thousands of new jobs in the region. It concerns logistics, production, R&D activities, as well as tech companies and the life science cluster,” says Per Österström, head of foreign direct investment at Business Region Göteborg.

In the longer term, the number of foreign-owned companies has grown significantly between 1990-2020, increasing by 253%. 

“Our companies are successful in the technology transition that is necessary in many industries. We are a region that has decided on a green transition and our two largest companies Volvo Group and Volvo Cars are incredibly offensive in their plans in the transition to electrification. And this is attractive for international investors,” says Per Österström.   

One in five people in the region are employed by a foreign-owned company

The report also shows that the number of people employed by the foreign-owned companies in the region has grown significantly, from 18,000 in 1990 to just under 100,000 in 2020 (+451%). And during 2020, employment in foreign-owned companies increased by 2%.  

“That the number of employees has grown so strongly means that the foreign-owned companies in the region are thriving here. They increase not only employment, but also turnover and competitiveness, which is very important for the region’s future development,” says Peter Warda, senior analyst at Business Region Göteborg. 

Volvo Cars the region’s largest employer

Chinese-owned companies had the greatest number of employees, employing over 19,480 people in the Gothenburg region in 2020. Volvo Cars accounted for the vast majority of this number with 16,475 employees.

In 2020, Volvo Cars was the region’s largest foreign-owned employer, followed by English pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (2,325 employees), Chinese tech company CEVT (1,175 employees), Swiss staffing company Adecco (1,175), Austrian chemicals company Borealis (1075 employees) and US life science company Dentsply Sirona (925 employees).

In terms of number of companies, Norway and Germany are the most represented countries with 415 and 253 companies in the Gothenburg region, respectively. These were followed by Denmark (205), USA (188), UK (148), the Netherlands (147) and Finland (123). 



If you would like to establish, invest or innovate in the Gothenburg region, please contact:

Per Österström, head of foreign direct investment at Business Region Göteborg (+46 31 367 61 28 /


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