Elektro- und Elektronikindustrie#
Electrical and Electronic Industries: in Austria the first fields of application of electricity were telegraph connections and railways. In 1847 the first telegraph connection (Vienna - Brno - Prague) started operation. Austrian inventors played a considerable part in the international development of this field (J. Kravogl: electric motor 1867; L. Pfaundler: direct-current generator 1871; R. von Lieben: amplifier valve 1906, etc.). In 1883 the "Electronics Exhibition" took place in Vienna, which stimulated the construction of electric power stations and the first electric tramway (Moedling). Around 1913, 854 electric power stations supplied approximately 2,000 municipalities with 570,000 kilowatt of electric current.
After World War I, hydroelectric power stations had to be extended since it was necessary to become independent from coal imports. 1918-1933 the total wattage of the power stations in Austria increased from 240 to 725 MW. In 1918 V. Kaplan constructed his first turbine, which revolutionised electricity generation. The electrical industry experienced significant growth; but was mainly owned by non-Austrian nationals at this time. World War II and its consequences interrupted development in this field.
Today, the electrical and electronic industry is a key industry, which has considerable influence on overall economic development in Austria. About 300 industrial enterprises in Austria produce highly developed electrotechnical and electronic products, ranging from tiny microchips to turnkey power plants. In 1993 total production of this branch of industry was valued at approximately ATS 871 billion (a growth rate of more than 100 % within 10 years). The electrical and electronic industry employs approximately 70,000 people, and is the second largest industrial employer in Austria. The Austrian electrical and electronic industry is highly export-orientated - about two thirds of the products are exported (1993: ATS 64.6 billion ); this is due to several factors, such as the innovative work of Austrian enterprises in this field, the excellent image Austrian products have abroad, and the organisation of giant groups which is based on division of labour on an international level. 66.1 % of exports go to member states of the EU. The main customers of this industry in Austria are private households, capital goods industries and, above all, the public sector. On account of the industry´s importance in the field of domestic communications engineering, the building activities of the federal, provincial and municipal governments are equally important to the electrical and electronic industries as some of the large utilities and public enterprises (e.g. the electricity industry, the Austrian Postal and Telegraph Administration and OeBB, the Austrian Federal Railways). The largest branch of the Austrian electrical and electronic industry is the consumer electronics industry, with a proportion of 17 % of the total production, followed by assembly and repair (15 %), components (12 %), cables, lines and wires (10 %), communications and information technology (9 %), power engineering (9 %), domestic appliances and heating (7 %), immaterial services (6 %) and lighting fixtures (4 %). Smaller sectors of the electrical and electronic industry include accumulators (2 %), installation materials (1 %) and electromedical instruments (1 %). In this branch of industry, research and development are of great significance (up to 15 % of total turnover, 40 % of total Austrian research and development expenditure).