More than 500 participants met at the Flora in Cologne for the Business and Investors Forum China.
After a meet & greet with Timo Boll, Germany’s leading table tennis player, Henriette Reker, the Mayor of Cologne opened the conference with her welcome speech. She stressed the successful partnership between the cities of Beijing and Cologne, which dates back to 1987.
Feng Haiyang, Consul General of China in Dusseldorf, mentioned in his speech the excellent relations between China and Germany and the strong economic ties.
Garrelt Duin, Minister of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), highlighted that more than 900 Chinese companies are located in NRW and about 8,000 Chinese students study at NRW universities. Furthermore, he explained that 6 so-called “Digital Hubs” are currently implemented in NRW, including one in Cologne, which will start in a few weeks time.
Highlight of the day, next to the meet & great with Timo Boll, who is very popular both in Germany and in China, was the interview with Michael Clauss, German Ambassador in China.
He talked about the economic ties between China and Germany and stressed that Industry 4.0 know-how is highly interesting for China as part of their “Made in China 2025” initiative for modernizing Chinese production. Ambassador Claus underscored, that partnerships regarding Industry 4.0 / Made in China 2025 are also interesting for German companies, as they can much easier set global standards together with their Chinese peers than alone, given the limited size of the German market.
He went on explaining the public consultations in China on cybersecurity. According to his opinion, the Chinese government has well understood the trade-off between security on one hand and innovation on the other hand and will find a good balance for maintaining economic growth.
In the following panel, Frank Sportolari from UPS Germany, Torsten Küpper from Huawei Germany and Dorry Chen from NetEase Inc. discussed opportunities for international companies in NRW, on basis of the ongoing digitalization trend.
Last but not least, start-ups from Germany and China gave examples of setting up successful businesses and implementing projects on the other side.
The conference ended with an evening reception with good wine and excellent Chinese music.