According to studies by the KfW Banking for the economy and scientists alike to sup- Group, overall there is a decline in the num- port the implementation of Industry 4.0 ber of innovative companies – only 28 per- and in so doing position Germany as a lead- cent of SMEs invest in innovative products ing provider of these technologies and as a and processes; one reason given for this is future manufacturing hub. ongoing subdued economic forecasts. In numerous niche market segments, German SMEs are frequently hidden champions, with leaders offering highly innovative products in European and global markets. The creative industry has become firmly established in the fabric of the economy. INFO Frequently in small, under-capitalised companies it plays a pioneering role on the way to a digital, knowledge-based economy, and is regarded as a significant source of ideas for innovative products. With more than 28,000 such firms registered, Berlin is considered to be an international seedbed for creative industries and start-ups. The economy is on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution. Driven by the Internet, the real and virtual worlds are growing together to create an Internet of Corporate tax rates Since the mid-1990s there has been an international trend towards falling corporate tax rates. Germany has long since not been among the hightax countries. In comparison with other countries, if anything, it even has below-average tax and welfare contribution levels. The average overall tax burden for companies is less than 30 percent. On account of the locally variable trade tax rate, in some regions in Germany it is below 23 percent. → gtai.de Things. The Federal Government’s aim is 1990 2002 2014 The Treuhandanstalt, a government-owned but independent trust agency, begins transforming the socialist planned economy of the former East Germany with its several thousand state-owned enterprises into a market economy. From 1948 until 1998 the Deutsche Mark is the official currency as “book money”, until 2001 as cash. It is replaced on 1 January 2002: Germany and 11 other EU Member States introduce the euro. The German share index DAX passes the 10,000-point mark for the first time. It reflects the performance of the 30 biggest German companies with the highest sales.