Discussion Papers

Joachim Drescher

Die nachrichtentechnische Industrie in den neuen Bundesländern - ein Beispiel für erfolgreiche Strukturanpassung
Nr. 82 / März 1992


The economy of the former GDR is in a state of transition from a centrally planed to a market economy. Some sectors of the economy are recovering more rapid than others. One example for successfull adjustment to the conditions of a market economy is the telecommunications equipment industry.

The telecommunications industry in the former GDR centered around the so called "Kombinat Nachrichtenelektronik" (KNE). The KNE suffered from the same problems as all the other manufacturers in centrally planned economies (e.g. high degree of vertical intergration, overstaffing, low rate of productivity, low rate of innovation). But in contrast to other parts of the East Germany economy it was possible - very soon after German Monetary Union (GMU) - to split up the monopoly supplier KNE in its different parts and to restructure the core businesses of the KNE (e.g. the manufacturing of line and switching equipment), so that they are now able to survive in a highly competitive environment.

This result owes much to the activities of the Deutsche Bundespost Telekom. At an very early stage of the process of unification, DBP Telekom stated its intention to embark on a massive investment programme to upgrade the East German Telecommunication infrastructure. In addition, the procurement policy of Telekom favoured temporarily manufacturers within the former GDR. The traditional suppliers of DBP Telekom took that chance and started to build up a manufacturing base in the former GDR, using and modernizing facilities of the former KNE. Despite these achievements, employment in this sector is now one third of the pre-GMU level.

Only German language version available.

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