Hamburg attracts about 30 Chinese firms every year

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-7-30 8:24:00

Hamburg's participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai and its warming relationship with China will help the German city shake off the shadow of the global economic downturn, city officials and scholars said.

Hamburg, the third largest port in Europe and the ninth largest worldwide, has displayed its achievements in energy efficiency at the Expo's innovative Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA).

The local media's feedback on Hamburg's involvement in the extravagant fair is pretty good, said Johannes Freudewald, spokesman for Hamburg at the Expo 2010 Shanghai. "They could do more (negative reporting) but they didn't. They know we are sitting in the same boat Hamburg is quite interested in increasing its relationship with China."

Standing in the northern part of the Expo's UBPA, Hamburg House shows off the future urban life its residents desire and the government's response to the wish.

Built in the shape of a pile of drawers opening in four directions, the building is China's first certified "Passive House", which means it consumes less energy than any other building in the world while maintaining a comfortable room temperature.

Hamburg squandered 2 million euros ($2.6 million) - or half of the building's entire cost - on the structure when its economy was torn by the economic meltdown.

The other half of the 4.2-million-euro project was underwritten by Shanghai, under a sister city partnership achieved in 1986.

And one of the testaments of the city's strengthening link with China is the mounting number of Chinese companies that invested in Hamburg, officials said.

According to Aresa Brand, a project director at HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation, around 30 Chinese companies arrive in the city every year, in addition to the already existing 400 Chinese companies, including the well-known China Shipping, Baosteel and COSCO, which have representative offices in Hamburg or use the city as a European hub for their services.

"We foresee a very promising growth potential for Chinese companies," said Brand, whose company provides support for Chinese firms looking to set up a branch office in Hamburg or wishing to expand their existing business in the region.

She cited an example of Olympus Corp, a Japanese company manufacturing optoelectronic products, whose European presence grew from an office with five people to a regional headquarter with hundreds of employees in a short time span.

"We expect Chinese companies will follow this speed of growth," Brand said, adding that renewable energy, media, IT, aviation, logistics and life sciences are the sectors that Hamburg is aiming to bring more Chinese companies in.

The Chinese-German Association of Hamburg promotes cultural interaction between Germans and Chinese people in a number of ways, having successfully initiated and organized the China Weeks in Hamburg in 1995 and 2002.

The third biennial China Time Hamburg is set to take place from Sept 9 to 25, 2010. Every two years since 2006, the city has used this widespread initiative to demonstrate its expertise on China, unique within the whole of Europe.

A diverse program provides the latest information on the Middle Kingdom and on the long-standing ties between Hamburg and Beijing.

Sinology - or China Studies - and the Chinese mandarin are gaining popularity in the city.

As many as four secondary schools in Hamburg have incorporated Chinese classes into their curriculum. In addition, there are four private Chinese Sunday schools in the Hanseatic city where German and Chinese children, adolescents and families alike learn about and explore Chinese history, language and culture at weekends.

"Sinology is a very popular course in the University of Hamburg," said Julia Dautel, who works for the International cultural exchange department at Hamburg's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Media. "You could gain access to the course only if you have excellent scores in high school," she added.

Source: China Daily

Posted in: Diplomacy

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