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German firms bullish on China

By Zhong Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-18 07:14

German firms bullish on China

Attendees check out Siemens medical equipment at an industry expo in Beijing.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Companies in the machinery sector among those most confident on prospects

German companies doing business in China are more optimistic than last year on their economic prospects in the country, according to a survey published by the German Chamber of Commerce in China on Friday.

Most of the companies, that participated in the survey term the current business year as extremely successful, with those from the machinery and industrial equipment sectors being the most bullish, said the chamber's Business Confidence Survey 2017, conducted between Aug 21 and Sept 29 this year.

Lothar Herrmann, chairman of the German Chamber of Commerce - North China, said China's economic reforms have proved beneficial to several German companies. The chamber believes that there is strong potential for more cooperation in various industries, particularly in high-tech manufacturing, digitalization, innovation, and high-end consumer products.

"We welcome the Chinese government's statements with regard to further opening-up, strengthening of market forces as well as promoting foreign investment," said Herrmann. "We are looking forward to more concrete reform measures."

The survey interviewed 423 companies on issues related to business outlook, investment climate and market conditions.

It found that nearly two thirds of the German companies in China expect to achieve or exceed their business targets in the current year. About 75 percent of the companies expect their turnover to increase in 2018.

Despite improvements in the current year and positive expectations for 2018, German companies remained cautious on increasing investment and employment in the country. But China still ranked among the top three markets for most German companies.

The survey showed that more than one third of the German companies expect a positive effect on their future business from China's Belt and Road Initiative. About 30 percent of the German companies are active in or are considering engagements in projects related to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Alexandra Voss, a member of the chamber's all-China board, said the initiative comes with several opportunities for German companies. Chances exist in the various infrastructure projects for suppliers in the machinery and mechanical engineering industry, in technical fields, engineering and quality management services.

"Based on the total bilateral trade figure between China and Germany from January to August this year, we have reason to believe that bilateral trade volume will exceed 170 billion euros ($200.69 billion) this year from the level seen in 2016," said Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China.

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