Germany’s Keen Interest In A City In East China

In recent months, there have been several delegations of German enterprises visiting Hefei, a city in east China’s Anhui Province, demonstrating keen interest in China’s emerging industries.

Last month, Matthias Machnig, Vice President of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Economic Forum, an independent German entrepreneurial professional association, led a delegation to the city. They visited new energy vehicle (NEV) factories there and held discussions with local entrepreneurs in various fields including NEV, AI and bio-medicine.

Anhui has displayed a huge potential in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, and future exchange on industry, technology and culture between Germany and this province is expected to be further deepened, Machnig said.

Anhui’s ties with Germany can be traced back to 1984, marked by a joint declaration for cooperation between the province and the German state of Lower Saxony. This partnership stands as one of the longest-running regional collaborations between China and Germany.

In recent years, there has been a surge in visits from German entrepreneurs to Hefei, resulting in a flurry of industrial collaborations.

To advance its pace of innovation in China, Volkswagen Group China on Thursday announced that it will invest 2.5 billion euros (about 2.68 billion U.S. dollars) in the expansion of its innovation hub in Hefei.

“This additional investment in the site underlines our ambition to quickly expand our local innovative strength,” said Ralf Brandst√§tter, Chairman and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, adding that the innovation hub in Hefei will bring technologies to market approximately 30 percent faster in the future.

Volkswagen (China) Technology Co., Ltd., located in Hefei, is the company’s implementation hub for its production localization strategy. It is Volkswagen’s largest research and development center outside of Germany.

Effective communication requires mutual engagement and exchange. A Hefei delegation led by government officials also visited Hannover, Wolfsburg, Berlin and Stuttgart in 2023. During these visits, discussions were held with representatives from Volkswagen, Continental, Porsche and Bosch to strengthen collaboration with China.

During his visit to Hefei last month, Jochen Leonhardt, a member of the board of the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW), said that the association has always maintained a good interactive and cooperative relationship with the city and provincial governments.

“Every time I come to Anhui, I can feel the rapid development and great changes here, which fully proves that it is a hot land for investment and development,” Leonhardt said.

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