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German ties to Chengdu provide inspiration, opportunities

By Zhuan Ti | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-07 09:05

An economic and cultural hub in western China, Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, is boosting ties with Germany in various fields ranging from art and design to transport, manufacturing and trade, experts said.

An agreement reached by the local government and the Hannover Industrial Design Forum on June 20 will establish a design center in the Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.

Covering 4,000 square meters, the center includes exhibitions, design labs, offices and cooperative spaces, all maintaining the same design standards of its counterparts in Germany.

German ties to Chengdu provide inspiration, opportunities

"Chengdu's design environment is very good. Relying on the city's geographic advantages and rich resources, we hope to expand our business to other regions in western China," said Ralph Wiegmann, CEO of the forum.

He said the center is aiming to bring design information from the global frontier to local residents.

"We plan to establish a state-of-the-art experience center, hold exhibitions for prestigious designs and introduce famed international design forums," he said.

Last year, the prize-winning pieces at the 2016 IF Design Awards, launched by the forum in 1953 and renowned throughout the design industry, were displayed in its first overseas destination, Chengdu, with a total of 700 items from 20 countries and regions.

Wiegmann said through such an event, local residents could gain a better understanding of world-class art and design, and learn about the newest trends in the global market.

"China is sure to become a world-class hub for design, under which people will pay much attention to education in the sector."

In addition to art and design, the two countries have made joint efforts in promoting public transport and logistics.

Recently, Car2go, the Daimler-owned car-sharing service, signed an agreement with Chengdu to deploy 1,000 Smart cars in the next three years. The company is known as Ji Xing Car2go in China. "Ji xing" means "ready to go" or "immediately hit the road" in Chinese.

It is Daimler's first free-floating car-sharing public transport service in the world with more than 14,000 cars and 2.2 million users in 31 cities globally.

To further deepen cooperation with Germany in transport, Chengdu has signed a friendship agreement with Duisburg, one of the biggest inland container terminals in the world.

Volker Mosblech, vice-mayor of Duisburg, said the logistics industry in Chengdu has been developing at a fast pace in recent years.

As the starting point of the Chengdu-Europe Express Railway, the city enjoys many of the same transport advantages as Duisburg.

Ralf J. Meurer, head of the economic promotion bureau of Duisburg, said: "We hope to optimize the benefits brought by the railway and further advance economic and trade ties with Chengdu."

He said the bureau has set up a special business association to offer one-stop services for Chinese enterprises.

In the past decade, more than 70 Germany-based enterprises including 18 Fortune Global 500 companies have set up operations in Chengdu, with a total investment of some 2 billion euros ($2.28 billion).

The import and export volume between Chengdu and Germany has shown an upward trend and surpassed a total of 23 billion euros in the past five years.

Manufacturing and trade

As a demonstrative city for the Made in China 2025 strategy, Chengdu has strengthened relations with Germany in the manufacturing industry.

One example is the ongoing project of Germany's Bosch Group, which plans to build a new plant in the Sino-German Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Cooperation Park in Pujiang county of Chengdu.

With a total investment of 180 million yuan ($26.47 million), the plant will produce high-end products such as packaging machinery, hand-held electronics and desktop power tools.

It is expected to realize annual output value of 500 million yuan.

Covering some 30 square kilometers, the park is home to more than 50 enterprises in precision machinery and related industries.

It is one of the five demonstration zones for cooperation between China and Germany set by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

A representative of the park said the area will introduce more Germany-based companies in the future. By 2020, the park is expected to have more than 100 foreign enterprises with an output value of 10 billion yuan.

There are also other cooperative platforms in Chengdu between China and Germany such as the 22-sq-km key zone for industrial innovation in research and development, medical care, intelligent manufacturing and international trade, the 7-sq-km innovative upgrading demonstration zone and the 58.8-sq-km park for the auto industry.

 German ties to Chengdu provide inspiration, opportunities

The color-painted pandas in parks of Berlin serve as cultural ambassadors between China and Germany.

(China Daily 07/07/2017 page12)

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