You have been working at GTAI Shanghai for just a few weeks: what are your first impressions?
Robert Herzner: The development of Shanghai reflects China’s growing importance worldwide. The most obvious change since my first trip in 2006 is the skyline and the expansion of the subway system to become the world’s largest. As a frequent traveler and a sports enthusiast, I also appreciate the reliable high-speed railway network which enables me to go running in the woods.
What is Germany’s reputation here as an investment location?
Herzner: The E.U. is the number one location for Chinese Investors and Germany is the dominant market there. Hence, China has been the leading source of greenfield investment into Germany in recent years. We receive a great number of inquiries relating to machinery, the automotive industry, and electronics. We’re seeing a trend towards increased R&D and high-tech manufacturing, for example in e-mobility.
What do the Chinese think about Germany? Does the “Made in Germany” seal mean anything to Chinese companies?
Herzner: Typically, the Chinese associate Germany with luxury cars, soccer, and quality food products, and their image of Germany is very positive. In supermarkets, the distinctive black, red, and gold “Made in Germany” label can be seen on many products. Chinese people want quality and the cost of German products is no longer prohibitive.
Chinese companies generally are interested in German technology and predominantly in manufacturing and machinery. Gradually, they are including “Designed in” or “Made in Germany” into their own value chain, either by manufacturing or establishing an R&D center there. Profiting from German engineering and establishing products in one of the most mature markets is a pillar for global success.