Germany and the UK are host to a similar number of Japanese companies, and a similar number of people are employed by Japanese companies in both countries. Comparing the 30 largest employers in each country reveals some significant differences however, reflecting their different strengths in services and manufacturing,
The top 30 largest Japanese employers in Germany employ around 99,000 people* – 57% of the total 167,000 people we estimate work for around 970 Japan owned companies in Germany. The UK top 30 employ around 94,000 people, just over half of the 180,000 people we estimate work for over 1100 Japan owned companies in the UK.
So there’s not that much difference in the scale or proportion, however only 12 companies appear both in the Germany and UK Top 30. They are largely the ICT/electronics companies such as Fujitsu, Sony, Ricoh, Canon, Panasonic, Konica Minolta, NTT and NTT Data, who presumably are at a scale which reflects population size and therefore domestic consumer and B2B demand for their products and services.
Outsourcing Inc is in the Top 30 of both, following a recent aggressive programme of acquisitions throughout Europe such such as acquiring Otto Workforce. Similarly NSG appears in both Top 30s as a result of its acquisition of Pilkington Glass in 2006 and Olympus as a result of building on its acquisitions of Keymed and Winter & Ibe several decades ago.
Hitachi only just makes it into the Top 30 for Germany, whereas it is number 2 in the UK, largely thanks to the organic expansion and acquisitions by Hitachi Rail.
The companies that only appear in the UK Top 30 are either in the automotive sector such as Nissan and Honda, in the financial services sector (MS&AD, MUFG, Nomura, SMFG) or the general trading companies and their acquisitions (Itochu, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni). Toyota appears in both Top 30s, although it only has manufacturing in the UK. In Germany its main companies are Toyota Kreditbank and Toyota Gazoo Racing. Dentsu, the advertising agency, is also in the UK Top 30, reflecting the traditional strength of the UK in marketing services, leading to the acquisition of Aegis and many other British agencies and resulting in Dentsu’s global headquarters being located in London.
The companies that only appear in the Germany Top 30 are Sumitomo Electric, which is at number 1 due to the large numbers employed at its factories acquired from Volkswagen and Siemens in 2006, DMG Mori Seiki (another manufacturing acquisition), Lixil (acquired Grohe), JT International (its German factory a legacy of RJ Reynolds owning Hans Neueberg, in turn acquired by JT International), Showa Denko (owns SGL Carbon), and other companies with manufacturing in sectors of traditional strength for Germany such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and engineering.
So in a way, the UK hosting (at least until July 2021) manufacturing plants for the three major Japanese car brands is more of an anomaly, and the rest of the Japanese investment in the UK reflects the UK’s strengths in services, particularly financial and commercial, as a centre of international trade, whereas Japanese investment in Germany reflects traditional German manufacturing and engineering strengths.
You can download the Top 30 Japanese companies in Germany and in the UK for free below:
The Top 30 is by corporate grouping, so each entry will contain several Japanese companies. In Germany’s case, there are 186 companies in the Top 30 employers. If you would like more detail on which companies appear in each group, their size in terms of employees and their location, please contact us. Prices start from 10c per company, with a 100 euro set up fee.
For the 2022 Top 30 Japanese companies in Germany, please see this post.
*This post and the Top 30 Japanese companies in Germany was updated on 25th April 2021.
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