German-Indian Company Networking


As early as the second day of their stay, the Indian managers visited the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where they were introduced to the India Desk located there and to the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF). These two institutions enjoy a strong tradition of ties to the Hamburg economy. The participants learned quite a bit about Hamburg as a business location and were given important tips on starting a GmbH (German limited liability company). The same afternoon the participants met with the German Asia-Pacific Business Association (OAV) – a key player in German-Asian business relations.

It was also the OAV who hosted the 96th Asia-Pacific Banquet on the evening of March 4th, and a third of the Indian executives accepted the invitation. The dinner put on by the OAV takes up a tradition from the nineteenth century: Back then the representatives of German merchants in Asia regularly met for dinners. In the era of East Asia Squadron of the Imperial German Navy, commanders would invite German merchants stationed there to an on-board dinner when they visited the Eastern ports. Following Prussian tradition, they named these feasts ‘Liebesmahl’, a word that also describes the early Christian feasts from the time of the Apostles.

On the occasion of the ninety-sixth edition of the Asia-Pacific Banquet, the grand ballroom of the Hamburg City Hall was the illustrious backdrop for a successful evening. Between the evening’s courses different speakers – including Olaf Scholz, the First Mayor of the City of Hamburg, and Hans-Georg Frey, the OAV Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Management at Jungheinrich AG – elaborated on their perspectives of Asia’s economic position. And of course the guests were offered ample opportunity to engage in the conversation. The Indian MP participants were able to make several very interesting contacts to German firms.

The German-Indian Round Table (GIRT) Hamburg that was held on the evening of the 14th of March provided another opportunity for networking. The GIRT has taken up the task of promoting business ties between Germany and India. Every two months they hold meetings for entrepreneurs and executives to share ideas in a more casual and relaxed setting. About 50 people came to the GIRT on the 14th of March, including 21 executives from India, who had prepared a presentation of their views of the opportunities and difficulties of German-Indian collaboration. An interesting and lively discussion between the German and Indian participants quickly developed, followed by a number of bilateral talks.

The numerous contacts that the Indian managers were able to establish while in Germany are a promising start, and there will certainly be a few business relationships resulting from the programme between the German and Indian companies.

By Timo Tekhaus
International Academy, Hamburg