Volvo being loaded onto a ship
29 August 2019

Facts & Figures 2019: Rich exchange with the world

Exports from the Gothenburg region have risen sharply in recent years and every fifth employee in the region works in a foreign-owned company. These are two of the many facts on Gothenburg's open interaction with the world that you can find in this year’s edition of Facts & Figures. 

Imports of goods from the region’s key trading partners

In contrast to the Gothenburg region’s goods exports, goods imports into the region grew more slowly between 2017 and 2018. Real growth for the Gothenburg region was 3 per cent, while for Sweden as a whole growth was just over 10 per cent. Germany is the largest country of origin in terms of import volumes, followed by Norway. Other key countries of origin for imports are the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark and China.


Composition of imports and exports

The majority of the Gothenburg region’s exported goods comprise of vehicles and other means of transport – an industry which is also the largest in terms of import value. The product groups ‘Other machines and manufactured goods’, ‘Chemical, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics’, and ‘Computers, electronics and optical products’ account for substantial shares of the goods exchanged with trading partners. ‘Other machines and manufactured goods’ accounted for the largest percentage increase in goods exports between 2017 and 2018. In absolute terms, goods exports in automotive increased most growing by more than SEK 18 billion.


Strong growth in goods exports from the Gothenburg region 

Since 2010, the business environment in the Gothenburg region has seen strong exports growth. In 2017, the region recorded a real increase in goods exports of 13 per cent. This was followed by a further 6 per cent increase in 2018.

In 2018, the value of exports from companies in the Gothenburg region corresponded to SEK 634,000 per employee in the private sector. This is substantially higher compared to the other two metropolitan regions and Sweden as a whole.


Many foreign-owned companies in the region 

Since 1990, the number of foreign-owned companies in the Gothenburg region has grown steadily. In 2017 there were approximately 2,400 foreign-owned companies in the Gothenburg region. These foreign-owned companies accounted for approximately 3,000 establishments in the Gothenburg region. From 2016 to 2017, the number of foreign-owned companies in the Gothenburg region increased by around 100 companies.

The number of employees in foreign-owned companies almost quadrupled in the period 1990–2017. In 2017, some 88,000 people were employed by foreign-owned companies in the Gothenburg region. Of these, Chinese companies employ the most, followed by companies from the USA, Norway and Denmark.

The list of countries with foreign ownership in the Gothenburg region is dominated by the northern parts of Western Europe. Norway tops the list as the country of ownership for the most foreign-owned companies, followed by Germany and Denmark. Denmark represented the largest increase in the number of foreign-owned companies in 2017, while the UK represented the largest decrease.


This article contains extracts from Facts & Figures 2019, an annual publication from Business Region Göteborg. Access the report here: Facts & Figures 2019


Read more