Düsseldorf | Beijing
Astrid Oldekop

China Business

13.12. Düsseldorf: Globale Verflechtungen
17.12. München: China 2018 Jahresrückblick


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Duisburg: a hub linking Europe and China

A China trade and innovation centre costing EUR 260 million is to be built in Duisburg, western Germany. Astrid Oldekop interviewed Wang Yaomin, Managing Director of the Starhai Group, for the Metropole Ruhr website. Oldekop, 38, is involved in the project as idea inspirer and developer. China Trade Center Europe is to attract 200 primarily Chinese SMEs, potentially creating up to 2,000 jobs. Representative bodies of Chinese universities, research centres, service providers from all sectors, start-up propositions, and a large hotel set amidst Chinese-inspired gardens are to be built on the west bank of the Rhine in Duisburg, the termination point of the New Silk Road. The ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for mid-2019, and the first tenants are expected in 2020.

You may find the whole story here.

Photo: mdb; last Update: 24/10/2018

Smart City at the 5th Düsseldorf China Dialogue event

"The City of Tomorrow: Smart City Models in Germany and China" was the theme of the 5th Düsseldorf China Dialogue held at the Hilton Hotel in Düsseldorf and attended by 550 German and Chinese guests, with Astrid Oldekop acting as master of ceremonies. Together with ZTE representative Bas Zwartkruis, Mobike manager Beate Overbeck, Digihub managing director Klemens Gaida and Düsseldorf's Senior Digitalisation Officer Peter Adelskamp, she discussed which solutions are on offer from intelligent cities in China and Germany for the major urban challenges such as congested streets, polluted environments and the new social trends in an aging society. Delegates agreed that key technological impetus for smart cities is coming from China, both for the necessary underlying technologies such as 5G and for smart city applications. Digitalization and Big Data are making local authorities more accessible, safer, cleaner and thus also more attractive for people and companies. The 5th Düsseldorf China Dialogue was held as part of Business and Investors Forum China 2018.

Further information: China-Competence Centre Dusseldorf

Photos: Jörg Hemmen; last Update: 14/9/2018

Cashless at 'China speed'

No other country is making faster progress than China in consigning analogue payment methods to history. Cashless payment is accepted everywhere, and even beggars have gone high-tech, writes Astrid Oldekop in German newspaper Die Welt. The article, to coincide with the NOAH Conference in Berlin, reports on the breathtaking speed with which Chinese start-ups are digitalising the lives of Chinese people across generations in all parts of the country, and points to German people driving these changes in China: student Theresa Stubhan whose Chinese fellow students can no longer understand analogue life in Germany, automotive manager Bernd Pichler who is helping a Chinese start-up build the first electric SUV, and company founder Mirko Wormuth who is paving the way for European merchants to get involved in cross-border e-commerce with China.

You may find the whole story here.

Photo: mdb; last Update: 3/6/2018

In China with WHU and CIO Magazine

"China is already five years ahead of Germany," summed up Markus Bentele, Group CIO of automotive supplier Mahle International at the China module of the CIO Leadership Excellence Program run by WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management and CIO Magazine. Almost 20 German IT decision-makers travelled to Beijing and Tianjin for a week, where Astrid Oldekop was led the way through a busy agenda. A detailed report on the trip can be found in CIO Magazin.

Photo: mdb; last Update: 8/5/2018

Germany needs China skills

China is becoming an ever more important partner in business, politics and science. But what do Germans know about China, and how can this knowledge be improved? These questions were addressed at a specialist event organised by the German Federal Ministry of Education & Research (MER), the German Foreign Office and the German Board of Regional Education Ministers (BREM). Astrid Oldekop (3rd from left) acted as master of ceremonies throughout the day. Representatives from schools and vocational training colleges, universities and research institutions discussed how to improve knowledge of China within Germany. Attendees included Junior Minister of Education Georg Schütte, BREM Chairman Helmut Holter, Norwegian futurist Jørgen Randers, and Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer from the China Centre in Tübingen. "The aim is to promote China skills in all areas," said Georg Schütte in summary, adding that this can only be achieved by federal and state authorities working shoulder-to-shoulder.
The starting point for the discussion was the Merics study "China kennen, China können" which looks at the state of China skills in Germany and concludes that existing propositions to help develop an understanding of China at schools, universities, ongoing vocational training establishments, and through extended visits to the country, must be expanded and become better subsidised by the state.

Photo: André Wagenzik; last Update: 7/5/2018

Inside China's digital reality

Beijing and Tianjin were on the itinerary of over 20 IT decision-makers who completed the China module of the Leadership Excellence Program (LEP) run by CIO Magazine and the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management. Astrid Oldekop was involved in designing the module. She accompanied the group as China consultant, offered intercultural training and brought the IT staff into contact with company representatives, company founders and “old hand” China experts.
In Beijing, the Group visited the German Center, Siemens, and Chinese start-ups: XCharge develops fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. Founder Simon Hou, a former Tesla employee, spoke about the future of electromobility and the speed at which fast-charging stations are being rolled out across the country. XCharge, whose charging stations can charge electric vehicles fully within half an hour, may have just opened its doors, but it has already sold 5-figure volumes of charging stations and won a great deal of accolades. Its offices are bursting at the seams, and yet it are more reminiscent of a student garage start-up than a modern corporate complex with all bells and whistles.
Start-up Noitom applies virtual reality to business. Company founder Tristan Dai explained how virtual reality is changing business models, trade show presences and sport. Three quarters of top golf coaches now use the suit developed by Noitom to analyse and improve players' golf swings. At Noitom, LEP participants had the opportunity to experience VR for themselves (photo).

Photo: mdb; last Update: 29/4/2018

German companies in Jing-Jin-Ji

The impact of the planned Jing-Jin-Ji metropolis on the German economy was a topic at the China module of the CIO Leadership Excellence Program sponsored by WHU and CIO Magazine. The Jing-Jin-Ji region is to comprise Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. Astrid Oldekop therefore also took the group of German IT decision-makers to Tianjin, where Zhang Xiaolei of the Chamber of Foreign Trade in Tianjin offered information on local German businesses. At family business Haver Technologies, China boss Björn Lindemann summed matters up by saying: "No one's in China anymore for reasons of cost. We're all here for the market." Companies that offer a product with benefits for China will continue to be welcome. China, he says, is good at bringing innovations to a large market. "If we have the best machine, that's all well and good," said Lindemann. "But we also need to learn how to transfer the data to a cell phone."
At Airbus, General Manager Frank Schreiber reported on Sino-European teams: Chinese employees come to Toulouse for ten months to train on the A330 cabin installation. There they are coached by a western colleague who then travels to China as an expat and is hosted by the coachee. "That way, people feel a responsibility," Schreiber said with a smile of content. "This partnership effort is working very well."

Photo: mdb; last Update: 29/4/2018

Digitalisation and e-mobility: opportunities for hidden champions and start-ups

Three 'old hands' discussed the opportunities and challenges in doing business with China with the IT decision-makers in the CIO Leadership Excellence Program run by WHU and CIO Magazine in Beijing. The discussions were chaired by Astrid Oldekop. Stefan Lürssen, who heads up the Chinese operations of family business and 'hidden champion' Bitzer Refrigeration Technology, reported on the air-conditioning in Alibaba's cloud centres. Car industry executive Bernd Pichler, who joined Chinese start-up Iconiq Motors as CMO following stints at Volkswagen and Jaguar, talked about the different working methods of Chinese and Western companies. Iconiq Motors is planning the first electric SUV. Lawyer and entrepreneur Mirko Wormuth spoke about the business opportunities that cashless payments are opening up in China. His company WeRetail wants to clear the barriers to Chinese e-commerce for European retailers.

Photo: mdb; last Update: 29/4/2018

The secret of 'China speed'

Asked about the secret of their success in China, German managers being interviewed often answer: "It's China speed." In her personal 12-minute talk to company founders and expats in Düsseldorf, Astrid Oldekop explored the nature of this characteristically Chinese pace of doing things, how the people in China endure it for decades, and how they even make it their ally. In so doing, she pressed home two observations: whereas Western managers praised the Chinese pace, Chinese people often criticized the tense, rushed movement patterns of Westerners. Taking the example of Chinese people's own ability to merge contradictions – to think in Yin and Yang at the same time and to make this encounter into an art form, celebrating it in all walks of life – Astrid Oldekop explained the different paces that make up China's very own dynamic momentum.

Photo: Wavemaker; last Update: 22/2/2018

China - Quo vadis?

The targets are ambitious: to mark the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic, China wants to be a high-tech, leading world power. At the Düsseldorf Adult Education Centre, Astrid Oldekop talked with Thomas Heberer, Senior Professor of Chinese Politics and Society at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and Wang Yaozhen, lawyer and board member of the Sino-German Friendship Society, about this long-term strategy, about Xi Jinping's Chinese style of socialism, and about the other output from the 19th Party Congress and where it is taking us. Wang Yaozhen spoke about Chinese investment in Europe. Thomas Heberer put the new strategy in context with China's political discourses since the end of the 19th century, and described the People's Republic as a developing nation. Other topics addressed during the evening where the impact of the anti-corruption campaign on officials and on the economy, China's ambitions to regard its brand of socialism as a blueprint for other countries, and the New Silk Road.

Photo: Martina Henschel; last Update: 20/2/2018

Growth in the Year of the Dog

旺 is the Chinese word for blooming, flourishing or abundant and is currently often translated as "growth", probably because of its similar sound. In Chinese, it is pronounced "wàng" – and sounds not unlike a dog's bark. As China enters the Year of the Dog, it is – perhaps fittingly – enjoying great popularity.
Medienbüro Düsseldorf | Beijing also extends to you its very best wishes for flourishing business, flourishing health, happiness in abundance, and growth in all aspects of the word!

Graphic: mdb; last Update 16/2/2018

Düsseldorf Spring Festival Gala with Mongolian artists

Laryngeal singing, long tone music and totem worship were just some of the themes of the big Spring Festival Gala at the Savoy theatre in Düsseldorf, over which Astrid Oldekop presided in German and Chinese. Award-winning dance and singing ensemble Wulanmuqi from Ordos in Inner Mongolia also took part. With assistance from the local Chinese Consulate General and the Sino-German Cultural Centre in Berlin, the Confucius Institute of Düsseldorf and the Düsseldorf Sino-German Friendship Society had invited guests to welcome the Year of the Dog under the motto "Beautiful Grassland, My Home". Interest was so great that many visitors had to be turned away. "The Spring Festival is a mixture of Christmas and New Year's Eve," explained Cord Eberspächer of the Confucius Institute. "Dogs are loyal, reliable, friendly and courageous", said a delighted Consul General Feng Haiyang, and concluded, "The Year of the Dog means prosperity and happiness." Düsseldorf mayoress Claudia Zepuntke called to mind the 520 Chinese companies in the city. Dieter Böning, a member of the Sino-German Friendship Society board, spoke of the 3,600 Chinese nationals registered as being resident in Düsseldorf. Added to this are many ethnic Chinese with German passports. "We estimate the total number in Düsseldorf to be at least 10,000."

Photo: Martina Henschel; last Update: 9/2/2018

Dragon riders on the Rhine

Technology transfer with China is no longer a one-way street. This can also be seen clearly in North Rhine-Westphalia: Chinese companies are initiating much innovation in this part of the world. In return, German businesses are increasingly undertaking research and development in China. In the current issue of the Düsseldorf Chamber of Trade & Industry magazine, Astrid Oldekop examines the effects of this new-style technology transfer, and spoke with representatives of Chinese and German companies. "Smart technologies are falling on fertile ground in China," explains Sun Jie, Managing Director of telecommunications supplier ZTE in Germany. The Chinese are more open to digital technologies and use them pragmatically to improve their quality of life. Düsseldorf senior citizens have also benefited from the extensive experience in China – for example with eHealth applications for older people. German companies, too, are relying on impetus from China. "If you have ambitions to be the world's leading software provider in the IoT sector, there's no avoiding China," says Bernd Groß, CEO of Cumulocity.

IHK Magazine. Dragon goes digital. Edition 01/2018.

Photo: mdb, last Update 4/1/2018


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