“Fit for business in China”: At the invitation of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Chinese government, Thomas Eberl, together with 12 other select delegates, took part in an business exchange program to China. “For us, it’s about introducing additional Bavarian value to the Chinese market,” said Eberl.
“The Chinese market offers enormous opportunity, but it’s also hiding definite risks.” This is the way Thomas Eberl summarized his two-week trip through China. The excursion was preceded by two days of preparation in Bonn, because whoever wants to understand the people and markets in China has to understand its environment and background. The managing director and owner of Spedition EBERL was able to experience “An enormously important prerequisite for successfully initiating business.” How does one establish contacts with companies in the various regions? How does one gain access to the decision makers there? The exchange program for German technicians and managers, organized by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), offered an in-depth look into the Chinese business culture – “And it is simply totally different to us Europeans,” emphasized Eberl.
At the same time, Bavaria’s Minister-President, Horst Seehofer, was also travelling in China. In Shenzhen, Seehofer opened a Bavarian diplomatic mission to make doing business there easier for Bavarian companies. “That is definitely a welcome project,” said Thomas Eberl. “However, at the end of the day, having personal contacts is surely the decisive factor. Our connections in China are a big advantage for us, because we are working together with some notable companies that have a strong presence in this market.” This year, Bavarian exports to China set a new record – already in the first half of this year, they increased by 11 percent to a total of 8.3 billion euros.
Thomas Eberl was impressed by the enormous dimensions of Chinese projects like the reconstruction of an entire city, the Metal Eco City, which would like to attract European investors to the country. So, now there’s a little Eberl tree blooming in the Far East, because every member of the delegation was called on to plant a tree in the new forest being created there.
Still, the not-to-be-underestimated environmental damage in smog-choked China also gave the group of 13 Germans pause to think. “APEC Summit in Beijing – Clean-Air Resort for One Week” was on the cover of Spiegel magazine that same week. They reported on the drastic measures, like factory closings and driving bans, that were taken to ensure that Merkel, Obama and Co. would be able to see a patch of blue sky. The German delegation was also able to benefit from these measures.
“Is it real?” asked the Chinese business partner of the Bavarian freight forwarder as he looked at the illustrated books of beautiful Chiemgau that he naturally brought along with him in his luggage. “We are already looking forward to welcoming our first Chinese return visit soon and being able to show them the loveliness of our home region. In this way, we Europeans can definitely set a good example for the further development of the market economy in the Far East,” concluded Eberl.