German industry lacks confidence in China – Study

October 7, 2014 | Global news

The “Year of Innovation 2015” proclaimed by Germany and China is in danger of failing. 62 per cent of German business representatives still lack confidence to undertake future development work with Chinese partners. By way of comparison: Not even one in ten cite such a lack of confidence with respect to partners from the European Union. That was revealed by a study conducted by management consultancy firm Staufen and Chinaforum Bayern e.V. For the “China Poll”, 150 companies in Germany were interviewed.

In principle, the great opportunities of Sino-German development work are undisputed. For joint innovations, particularly in the automotive sector (69 per cent), in machine and plant construction (58 per cent) and in the energy sector (55 per cent), German industry makes good to very good predictions.

“The survey shows very clearly that in many industries there is no doubt about the prospects of success of Sino-German innovation projects in operational terms”, says Thorsten Amann, executive board member of management consultancy firm Staufen with responsibility for the Asian market. “For the majority of German business representatives, however, the confidence deficit remains a stumbling block for China as a location. Due to this, for example, 79 per cent of respondents fear having to accept an uncontrolled transfer of technology to the Chinese partner.”

“The intended remit of the Sino-German government consultations beginning on October 10 is to agree the concrete action framework for bilateral innovation partnership “, says Stefan Geiger, Managing Director of Chinaforum Bayern e.V. “Around three quarters of German companies cite legal risks in patent and trademark protection as an obstacle to innovation activities with Chinese partners.”

Prospects for cooperation on an equal footing, where German-Chinese partners in research and technology development create added value for both sides are rated by respondents as favourable. Only a minority (13 per cent) consider Chinese companies to be lacking in creativity. Only one-third cites differing skill levels as a potential weakness. The opportunities for cooperation in product development with companies from China seem equally positive (77 per cent). This view could initiate a change in trend in future. In every second company currently, it is still German managers dispatched to China together with their company headquarters in Europe, after all, who exclusively decide on the product portfolio for the Chinese market.

“China Poll – Sino-German Year of Innovation 2015”
The “China Poll – Sino-German Year of Innovation 2015” is based on a survey conducted by the management consultancy firm Staufen AG in collaboration with Chinaforum Bayern e.V. A total of 150 companies in Germany were interviewed for this in September 2014.

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