The world’s leading manufacturing powers, China and Germany, will increase innovative cooperation in the latest effort to strengthen bilateral trade and investment amid setbacks in globalization.
During his official visit to Germany, Premier Li Keqiang described the two countries as a golden pair in the manufacturing industry.
China is willing to promote “the alignment between ‘Made in China 2025’ plan and Germany’s ‘Industry 4.0’ concept,” Premier Li said, stressing collaboration in manufacturing, energy, aviation, innovation, and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Unveiled in 2015, the Made in China 2025 plan aims to transform China into an innovative manufacturing country. The German Industry 4.0 concept, coined in 2011, is designed to facilitate automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing.
Premier Li’s words were echoed by his German counterpart Angela Merkel who said Germany is ready to work with China to build a platform to synergize innovation and high-tech development strategies.
The meeting marked the next step in the world’s second and fourth largest economies jointly exploring innovation as a means to stimulate flagging global growth.
“The two countries, although in different stages of development, can create mutual benefits via cooperation in the manufacturing industry and industrial digitalization,” said Yao Ling, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce.
At Hanover Fair, one of the world’s largest trade fairs for industrial technology, held in April, China became the second largest exhibiting nation after the host Germany, with around 1,200 participating businesses.
Leading Chinese tech and manufacturing firms, including telecom giant Huawei and home appliance producer Haier, showcased their latest products and looked for deals and partners during the exhibition.
Chinese Internet giant Baidu this week inked agreements with German automotive suppliers Bosch and Continental AG to expand cooperation on self-driving technologies and vehicles, smart transport systems and Internet of Vehicles.
Successful corporate cooperation projects between the two countries are numerous, such as China’s Baosteel and Germany’s Siemens jointly participating in Industry 4.0 steel industry projects, the smart washing machine plant developed by China’s Haier and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, and Midea Group’s takeover of German robot maker Kuka earlier this year.
Liu Yingkui from China Council for the Promotion of International Trade expects more Chinese investment in Germany and improved cooperation on research and development to push forward economic and technological ties.
China and Germany are already significant trade partners. Germany is one of a handful of countries that have a trade surplus with China with their transport equipment, chemicals, watches and machinery components popular in the Chinese market. Bilateral trade totaled $151.29 billion over the last year, slightly down 3.5 percent year on year.
Two way investment was robust. China pumped over $2.95 billion into Germany in 2016, a 258.6-percent increase from a year ago. In the same year, Germany invested in 392 projects in China with an investment volume of $2.71 billion.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-Germany diplomatic relations.