Investment in technology-based services and high-end product trade, such as cloud platform systems, smart manufacturing pilots and demonstration projects, and sensors and industrial automation goods, is set to account for an even greater proportion of Sino-German bilateral trade, said officials and experts.
Chinese investment in Germany has no longer been heavily concentrated in regular manufacturing and greenfield sectors in the past few years. It has started to be targeted at more high-tech companies for acquisitions, such as leading robotics manufacturer Kuka AG, which received a takeover offer from Chinese consumer products company Midea Group in 2016.
Feng Yaoxiang, spokesman for the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Beijing, said Chinese companies are eager to have the most modern technologies.
“With the advent of Industry 4.0, launched in Germany in 2013, we will see new players－especially from the internet field－entering the manufacturing sector, where they will change the customer-supplier relationship in both China and Germany,” said Feng.
Bilateral investment remains robust. China pumped more than $2.95 billion into Germany in 2016, a 258.6-percent increase year-on-year, while Germany invested in 392 projects in China with an investment volume of $2.71 billion.
“The dramatic surge in Chinese outbound investment last year triggered a noticeable rise in protectionism, such as the blocking of a Chinese consortium’s attempt to acquire German chip maker Aixtron SE,” said Terence Foo, co-managing partner for China at London-based law firm Clifford Chance.
To protect their own interests, France, Germany and Italy requested the European Commission to give them the right to veto high-tech takeovers in February.