Only in 2012, revenues from sales of the products and services offered by Lower Silesian companies amounted to more than PLN 104 billion. The highest sales were recorded in such industries as: production of vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers (16.5 percent), computers, electronic and optical products (9.8 percent.), rubber and plastics (6.6 percent) and this, for which Lower Silesia is well known in the world, namely manufacture of metal products (6.2 percent.).
To prove that the Lower Silesian province is an economically strategic region for Poland, it is sufficient to mention a few more data. It gives the entire (100 per cent) domestic production of copper ore. This is due to the Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin (covering the area of five counties), one of the largest copper mining areas in the world.
Lower Silesian factories also give more than half (50.6 percent) of Polish production of domestic refrigerators and freezers. Here, too, more than 40 percent of domestic washing machines are produced. Speaking of natural raw materials, one cannot omit the lignite mine “Turów” in the municipality of Bogatynia (16.5 percent of the Polish production of that raw material).
Lower Silesia also plays an important role in the road-building boom, currently experienced in Poland. For several years, thanks to funding from the European Union, new motorways, expressways, provincial, county and municipal have appeared. And Lower Silesia is a source of paving and construction stones, fireclay and natural aggregates.
Leader of exports
Given the above data – that this region is one of the three – after the Silesia and Mazovia – largest Polish exporters, is not surprising. In Lower Silesia, there are fourteen of the one hundred largest Polish exporters of 2012. The share of the region in the whole national exports was 12 percent.
Currently, the main export directions of Lower Silesian enterprises are: Germany (36 per cent of exports), Czech Republic (9 per cent), France (8 per cent), United Kingdom (8 per cent), Italy (4 per cent), China (4 percent). Other countries, including USA, Egypt, Mexico and South Africa account for less than 4 percent of exports in the business of Lower Silesian companies.
Of course, natural resources are most often sent abroad. Exports from here include as much as 85 percent of copper and copper articles. Should one add to that impressive number the noble metals and stones, then raw materials account for 25 percent of exports of the Lower Silesia.
Foreign partners of Lower Silesian companies are willing to buy here also machinery, equipment and large domestic appliances (dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers) and parts thereof. These products represent further 25 percent of Lower Silesia exports, while the so-called small appliances, home electronics, and electrical and electronic equipment reach 18 percent of exports from the region. A small share in exports is that of automotive parts and accessories, as well as furniture.
It must be recognized that in its export policy, Lower Silesia used to great advantage the companies with foreign capital brought here (in 2011, there were more than 2.3 thousand). They have a significant share in exports of the region.
There are companies with US capital (e.g. 3M, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Kraft Foods, McDonald's, Whirlpool), Austrian (Henkel, Voestalpine Rotec), UK (Smiths Aerospace, Synexus, Vita Polymers), French (Alstom, Decathlon, Electricite de France, Maco Pharma Polonia), Japanese (Bridgestone, Sanden Manufacturing, Toshiba Television, Toyota), Korean (LG Electronics, Mando Corporation) and German (Dr. Schneider Automotive, DWS Draexlmaier, Metzeler Automotive Profile System, Roben, Volkswagen).
The value of goods exported by such companies in 2011 amounted to almost PLN 43 billion. This constituted 65 percent of Lower Silesian exports at that time. Moreover, companies with foreign capital account for about 15 percent of total employment in the region.
From motor cars to furniture
Such high marks and excellent economic situation do not mean that the province and companies located on its territory are not looking for new markets, do not intend to increase cooperation with foreign partners, or are not looking for new ones. On the contrary – Lower Silesian companies are open to new markets and new partners.
Each of the potential partners, looking for their opportunity in the Lower Silesia, may well be interested in one of the largest companies in the region. Each of them is open to cooperate.
This includes Volkswagen Polska, manufacturing car engines and main engine components in the Lower Silesia. Anyway, of the automotive industry in the Lower Silesia one can talk long (e.g.. Toyota), but it is worth to pay attention to smaller, interesting undertakings thriving in this segment.. This is e.g. Takata, offering seat belts and airbags of excellent quality. Capital Group AB is in turn one of the largest distributors of consumer electronics (also related to the mobile telephony) in Europe. It sells equipment of the world's largest manufacturers and has more than 16,000 business partners. It operates in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
KGHM Metraco basically recycles copper, but also sells rock salt (extracted from the “Polkowice-Sieroszowice” mine), aggregates used for the construction of roads, 40 percent hydrazine hydrate (a component of rocket fuel and used for farming chemicals), recovered in the course of copper recycling (in various forms – rolled copper or cable), and also provides logistics services for its products.
PCC Rokita chemical company has operated on the market for over 65 years. It deals with the production of raw materials used to produce cosmetics, plastics, household chemicals or in the textile industry. The Osadkowski company is a renowned at home and abroad seller of plant protection products, fertilizers and agricultural machinery.
Trzebnica is the headquarters of a well-known nationwide Tarczyński meats producer. Last year the company made its debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Shortly after that Tarczyński announced that 2013 marked the company's history, when it comes to finances. Tarczyński then made up PLN 448 million of net sales proceeds.
In Goszcz, there is another production company, well known to Poles. It is the Bodzio furniture maker. The company, which was founded in 1985, now has more than 320 dealerships in Poland, employing more than 2,250 people and producing about a thousand of ready furniture sets a day.
In Jawor, the Korpo company operates, manufacturing motors for forklift trucks, agricultural and road machinery.
Potential in innovation
A great opportunity for foreign partners of Lower Silesian companies is their innovation. The region authorities put a lot of emphasis on it, but – regularly collected – data shows that not all companies use this opportunity. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises operate conservatively in this matter. Although the region is considered to be innovative and spends enormous funds (in 2012 research and development expenditures amounted to a total of more than PLN 971 million – the 6th place in the country, of which the corporate sector spent nearly 500 million, which gave it the 4th place in Poland), in this respect there is still much to do.
Each of potential foreign partners of Lower Silesian companies does not have to worry that they would have a problem with transporting goods bought in the region. The Lower Silesia directly borders with the Czech Republic and Germany, and has a well-developed transportation infrastructure.
The basic element of the road network is the Third European Transport Corridor or route Berlin – Dresden – Wrocław – Katowice – Przemyśl – Lviv – Kyiv. This network is associated with 16 national roads. Through Lower Silesia also runs the A4 motorway (Cologne – Dresden – Wroclaw – Opole – Katowice – Kraków – Tarnów – Rzeszów – Ukrainian border in Korczowa).
A8 is a motorway bypass of Wrocław, and A18 is a road leading from Berlin, through Olsztyn, to Krzyżowa. The roads network is complemented by completed and planned express routes S3 (Lubawka-Świnoujście), S5 (Wrocław-Grudziądz and connected to the A1 motorway), S8 (Wrocław-Białystok).
There is also no problem with rail transport. Rail services all the major economic centers of the region, and Wrocław alone has two passenger and freight stations. In the city, railroads converge towards: Katowice, Legnica, Poznań, Wałbrzych, Warsaw, Dresden, Berlin and Hamburg. Only the Wrocław-Brochów station supports up to 700 wagons a day.
The Nicolaus Copernicus Airport (Wrocław-Strachowice) is the fifth-largest airport in Poland in terms of passenger traffic. Year to year there are more served passengers.
Importantly, the airport also has a cargo depot. It offers 5.5 thousand sq. m of professionally prepared (air conditioning, ventilation) storage space and 1.7 thousand sq. m of office space. There are also: a bonded warehouse, cold storage, and even infrastructure that enables safe storage of radioactive materials. In 2013, the cargo port handled more than 5,000 tons of goods.
The airport map of the Lower Silesia is complemented by smaller airports: Wrocław-Szymanów, Mirosławice, Zgorzelec-Żarska Wieś, Jelenia Gora, Jeżów Sudecki, Lubin and Orsk.
Lower Silesia could also take advantage of the Odra River, which is connected by canals and tributaries to the western and eastern rivers system. True, river ports, when it comes to freight transport, serve mainly local transports of aggregate, but several commodity ports specialize in exports. These are: Malbo (Malczyce), Damen Shipyards Koźle (Kędzierzyn-Koźle) and Atut (Januszkowice).