Sweden has a rich history of entrepreneurship and industrialism. The world's oldest and still operating incorporated company, Stora Kopparberg (today Stora Enso) was established in Sweden more than 700 years ago. Swedish companies such as Volvo, SAAB, IKEA, Ericsson, ABB, Pharmacia and Astra-Zeneca are long since established names. Today, communications equipment and computer-related products are becoming increasingly important; but Sweden also has a long tradition in industries such as Automotive, Paper & Pulp and Biotech/Health Care.
The Automotive Industry
The automotive industry represents approximately 13 % of total Swedish exports. Volvo, SAAB and Scania (trucks and buses) are brands recognized all over the world. Presently, the automotive industry is in a process of rapid restructuring. General Motors purchased SAAB a few years ago. Ford bought the Volvo Car Division in 1999, and recently, Volvo Truck purchased the Renault Truck Division.
The Forestry Industry
More than 50 % of Sweden is covered by forests, and since the 13th Century, timber and other forestry products have been an important part of Swedish exports. This industry today accounts for 15 % of total merchandise exports (primarily paper & pulp). Major actors include Stora Enso, Svenska Cellulosa AB (SCA) and MoDo.
Biotech/Health Care Industry
Sweden has the fourth largest biotech industry in Europe (#1 on a per capita basis). Pioneering scientific work at Swedish medical universities and research institutes (Karolinska, Uppsala, Lund, and Sahlgrenska) has lead to groundbreaking discoveries, inspiring the creation and successful development of life sciences companies such as Pharmacia and Astra. Some 250 biotech start-ups are now active in the Uppsala region alone. High standards, excellent patient compliance, unique patient databases, highly skilled researchers, and close cooperation between hospitals and clinics have also made Sweden one of the world's most popular locations for clinical testing.