You’ve lived in Beijing for quite some time. What’s your impression of it?
Dennis Wilkens: Beijing offers a unique combination of tradition and modernity and is home to many top Chinese cultural sites such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. But I’m also fascinated by the lightning-quick, high-tech developments, for example in the Zhongguancun district. In the past four years, USD 131 billion has been invested in Beijing tech start-ups. That’s impressive even when compared with Silicon Valley. China now leads the world in unicorns. The development since 1999, when I first came here, has been overwhelming.
In your experience, are Chinese investors different from German or other international ones?
Wilkens: Actually, the similarities between German and Chinese Greenfield investors often outweigh the differences. Both value stable business environments, in order to make long-term investments. And another commonality is both believe that a good professional network on the ground is important for successful long-term business development.
How do Chinese firms use the services offered by Germany Trade & Invest?
Wilkens: Businesspeople in China appreciate that they can contact our investment team in Beijing and get quality information in Chinese about how to make a greenfield investment in Germany. That’s reflected, we believe, in the large number of projects we’ve been involved in. We direct our clients to local economic assistance in Germany, help them find the right location and even introduce them to strategic partners if necessary, for example local suppliers for setting up manufacturing in Germany.