Chinese investment in Germany to keep its fast growth

Updated: 2013-05-27 02:33

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

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Growth in Chinese investment in Germany will maintain momentum in the near future while experts call for more cooperation in the manufacturing sector.

"Chinese investment in Germany began to pick up in recent years, but the potential has not yet been fully realized," said Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. "The investment can be expected to expand into sectors of urbanization, ecological protection, new energy and innovation."

Meng Hong, a researcher at Renmin University of China, agreed that growth in Chinese investment in Germany will maintain a strong momentum.

"The two governments have established favorable policies and measures for boosting mutual investment. Germany has been troubled by slow economic growth in recent years, which provides a good chance for Chinese companies to advance mergers and acquisitions as well as develop new investment cooperation models," Meng said.

In 2012, China became the third-largest foreign investor in Germany in terms of the number of projects, trailing only the United States and Switzerland. Germany attracted 854 foreign investment projects in 2012 and 98 were from China, said Germany Trade & Invest, the nation's foreign trade and inward investment agency. Auto parts and machinery manufacturing accounted for 29 percent of Chinese investment, and energy, mineral and metals for 22 percent, while electronics made up 8 percent.

A Bertelsmann Stiftung report said China's investment in Germany rose by about 22 percent year-on-year to $626 million in 2012, and the figure is expected to increase to $2 billion in 2020.

"The increasing Chinese investment cooperation in Germany is a very good direction as China is advancing industrial upgrades in manufacturing and restructuring the economic growth model while Germany is very developed in manufacturing," said Xiong Wei, an associate professor at China Foreign Affairs University.

Meng said: "Energy and environmental protection will be key issues in the future, as Germany has very advanced technology in these areas.

"Chinese investment in Germany, whether it's greenfield investment to start new businesses or M&As, will help domestic companies learn advanced management from Germany, " Meng said.

Responding to concerns and complaints about China's increasing investment in Germany, Meng said that "it is understandable in view of China's fast economic growth in the past decades and the Western media's overstating of China's insufficient intellectual property protection".

"Chinese enterprises must be well prepared before investing in Germany, and cross-cultural differences could be the greatest challenge as Germany has a very strict and sound legal system in enterprise management, taxation and employment in addition to powerful labor unions. It's better to follow the local business rules and get local services," Meng said.

Chinese investment in Germany, on the whole, is very small compared with German investment in China, which increased by 28.5 percent year-on-year to $1.45 billion in 2012.