China still has a lot of growth potential in many sectors and the leaders in Beijing hope their “Made in China 2025” scheme will soon see more industries leading the global markets. To expedite the process, the state is providing Chinese companies the capital to buy up firms abroad. More and more German companies are being taken over by Chinese investors. In 2016 alone, more than ten billion euros for takeovers and company investments went from China to Germany. Investors are mainly after access to the German market, German technology and German know-how. One recent example: the Truking Group’s takeover of Romaco, a supplier of packaging and processing technology. “We trust that we will catch up with our bigger competitors and one day overtake them,” a proud Truking chairman told the Karlsruhe workforce. This report shows how unrelenting the investment offensive from China is and how it is all part of a masterplan. But while many entrepreneurs see the Chinese shopping tour in a positive light because it is bringing fresh capital and new prospects into companies, Jost Wübbeke from the Mercator Institute of China Studies warns: “The share of investments driven by state participation is increasing. The long-term objective is to replace foreign products with Chinese ones.” One thing is certain: The vast differences between the respective economic and legal systems will present German entrepreneurs and German politicians with a huge challenge. Are business and politics prepared for the “hungry dragon”?
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