Chengdu/Taicang. German entrepreneurs were guests in Chengdu and Taicang for two weeks. There they familiarised themselves with the current market situation and established business contacts with Chinese companies.
After the success of the previous year, the second group of executives from the middle and upper levels of German companies travelled to China in September 2013 to take part in training – at the invitation of the Chinese government. The programme “Fit for Business with China” was implemented in close cooperation between the Chinese partner China Center for Promotion of SME Development (ProSME) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
Whether in Chengdu in Western China (province of Sichuan) or Taicang on the east coast, market possibilities in the second largest economy in the world are very diverse, and the corporate culture and business practices are entirely different from those in Germany. 12 executives from German companies in the sectors of trade and services, mechanical engineering, timber and the chemical industry gained a direct impression and established initial contacts with potential Chinese partners.
These two intensive weeks required thorough preparation. The Programme participants therefore received two days of training at GIZ in Bonn at the beginning of September. There they not only familiarised themselves with the current situation regarding business with China, but also took a good look at the particularities and differences in communication and contract negotiations. This seminar contributed largely to the success of the Programme in China.
The Chinese organisers from ProSME and the authorities in the economic development zones in Pujiang near Chengdu and in Taicang had prepared an intensive and ambitious programme. Expert seminars were combined with visits to Chinese and German companies.
A look behind the scenes
During the expert seminars, e.g. on intercultural business communication, conducted by Professor Pan Yaling, or on the economic development zones in Pujiang and Taicang, the German participants received first-hand information and discussed relevant topics with Chinese experts. Among the company visits, the visit to the Chinese automotive component supplier CSDK Brand New Future made a lasting impression. The 34-year-old owner and managing director provided interesting insights into the business practice of a Chinese company. Local German companies, e.g. BOSCH Packaging Technology, Herrmann Ultraschall or E.G.O., supplied information on their experiences and approaches in building up business activities in China.
Visits to the German consulates general in Chengdu and Shanghai as well as the Chamber of Commerce Abroad in Shanghai rounded off the programme. There the German guests discussed current economic developments and market possibilities and risks with experienced experts on China. Plans for long-term business activities were also a result of the Programme. All of the German participants assessed the prospects for future activities in China as being good. A representative of a consulting company was particularly successful; he was already able to sign two cooperation agreements during the Programme.