‘New era ’ for German investment in China
Complementary industrial base can help boost nation’s structural reform
China’s economic restructuring will usher in a new era of German direct investment featuring automation, digitalization, environmental technology and renewable energy, a senior official of theGerman Chamber of Commerce in China said on Thursday.
German businesses operating in China are performing robustly and remain relatively optimistic despite the economic slowdown, according to the Business Confidence Survey 2014 conducted by the chamber betweenMay 12 and June 6.
The survey drew responses from 417 companies, or 17.4 percent of the chamber’s members.
“Its importance as a global market has, despite slower economic growth in China, continued to increase for both turnover and profit ... This indicates that the Chinese market remains a key growth driver for German companies,” Lothar Herrmann, chairman of the northern division of the chamber, said during the release of the survey.
The importance of the Chinese market has continued to increase, with more than three-fourths of the respondents identifying domestic demand in China as the most important market for their local operations.
German companies are operating in China to participate in economic growth and development within China, and they’re investing in China to satisfy domestic demand, said the survey.
In contrast, the 2014 European Business in China Business Confidence Survey, released onMay 29, found that 46 percent of 552 surveyed businesses believe the “golden era” for multinationals in China has ended, amid tougher business conditions in a slowing economy.
Herrmann said that the structure and knowledge base of German industry “fits very, very well with the reform agenda of China for the next few years.”
German companies in China believe that economic conditions remain fairly stable compared with 2013 and they’re “cautiously positive”, the survey said.
The automotive sector in particular maintained a largely positive outlook.
One key point in the report: this year, there is the jump in the portion of companies expecting to exceed business targets compared with 2013. That indicates the slowdown isn’t as severe as anticipated, said the survey.
In late March this year, President Xi Jinping visited Germany, which is the nation’s largest trade partner in the European Union. It was the first trip by a Chinese president to Germany in eight years.
German ambassador to China, said that the success of China’s economic reforms “depend, to a large extent, on foreign investment inChina and the country needs to continue to create a level playing ground for investment inflows”.
Business challenges related to human resources — rising labor costs, finding and keeping qualified staff — have consistently been the biggest challenge forGerman companies.
“However, a comparably smaller share considers them to be major business challenges,” Herrmann said. “German companies are getting more mature.
“For the first time, morethan 50 percent of the companies have operated inChina for over a decade. They have invested in their people, brought new training methods into China.”
Slow Internet speed has become the biggest non-personnel business challenge confronting German companies, according to the survey. Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com