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Exports from Germany, left, and imports soared in 2010

According to BITKOM, the country's high-tech association, exports jumped 16 pc in 2010 to 12.1 billion euros, more than double what they were in 2003.

"Software made in Germany is turning into a major export success," said August-Wilhelm Scheer, BITKOM president.

Half of all exports - 6.1 billion euros - goes to other member countries of the European Union, while Germany exported 2.3 billion euros to the US.

BITKOM said there was strong demand for German corporate, security and special-purpose software.

But Germany didn't just export software, it was also a large importer of software products and IT services. Imports jkumped 19 pc in 2010 to 10.5 billion euros

The German software and IT services industry employs roughly 580,000. Scheer said he expected the total number of jobs in the industry to grow by another 15,000 this year.

BITKOM said German software and IT sales were even higher when foreign subsidiaries of German companies are included. On that basis, total German software and IT sales totaled 26 billion euros.