In the medium term, Rüdiger Bachmann sees an end to the economic boom in the People's Republic of China. With "Markus Lanz" he explains why and which alternative markets there are for German companies. Hamburg's Mayor Tschentscher is also worried about German money.
More and more German companies are getting involved in China. Germany is by far the most important European trading partner for the People's Republic. That's no wonder either: around 1.4 billion people live in China. Last year, the bilateral trade volume was around 245 billion euros, a new high. But the strong focus of German industry could also cause problems, current studies warn.
On the one hand, German know-how could flow away, on the other hand, the Chinese government is pursuing the goal of reducing technical dependency on foreign suppliers. Economists fear that German companies could be replaced by Chinese companies in the future. In addition, there are growing political tensions between the People's Republic and Taiwan and the Chinese zero-Covid policy.
More and more companies from Germany and Europe are therefore putting their China strategy to the test, reports, for example, the company for foreign trade and location marketing, Germany Trade and Invest. The economist Rüdiger Bachmann also warns: "I wouldn't rely so much on the Chinese market." In the ZDF talk show "Markus Lanz", the economist explains that he has the impression that ideology is once again trumping the idea of economic growth in China. "That worries me."
The Chinese government has long seen its task in ensuring economic growth, Bachmann explains. "China needed us there, and there was a mutual dependency agreement." But now economic growth in the People's Republic is falling. One reason for this is the strict zero-Covid policy, which is partly responsible for the fact that the corona virus is still spreading in China.
Bachmann says it's not clear whether the country will really be the short-term growth market that companies from Germany need - and points to a medium- and long-term problem: This is due to the one-child policy advocated by the government in Beijing until 2015 Chinese society is aging. "By the end of this century, the population will have halved. They will have the same proportion of people over 65 as there are people between 24 and 65, and these are the people who work. China will have a huge pension problem."
Older people needed services, care or good health care, but fewer cars. But the automotive industry in particular sees a future market in the Middle Kingdom. That's why Bachmann says: "It's not clear whether German companies will be able to sell what they want to sell on the Chinese market in the future." Bachmann predicts that the aging society will also lead to underproduction in China. He therefore assumes that sooner or later foreign investments by Chinese companies will also fall.
According to the expert, a diversification of European foreign and domestic trade is urgently needed. In this way, Africa could become a much more interesting strategic partner for Europe. Hamburg's First Mayor Peter Tschentscher from the SPD also advises: "German companies should think twice about investing in China." Developments in the People's Republic are pointing in a problematic direction, says the politician at Lanz. "We have been too uncritical of China in recent years." The government's control and influence in Beijing has become stricter in recent years.
Nevertheless, the participation of the Chinese shipping company Cosco in the Tollerort terminal is correct. There are currently five major shipping companies worldwide, one of which is based in China. "The shipping companies bring loads to where they are involved in terminals," says Tschentscher. Like other ports in Europe, Hamburg is beginning to open up to the international market. Economist Bachmann is also relaxed about Cosco's investment. In this case, China is dependent on Germany.
Conversely, things are much worse: "If things get critical in China, the German investments will be gone. Then you can calculate that politicians might also go to court and call for a bail-out, i.e. a rescue operation. There I'm more concerned." Tschentscher is not worried about the dispute over Chinese involvement in the port of the Hanseatic city. On the contrary: "The result of the discussion is that the federal government is now taking greater care of the port than it has ever done."