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Sino-German Interrelations, Country-Level Economic Ties, Cultural Exchanges and their Future

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Germany Pavilion, Shanghai EXPO 2010, Shanghai, China, March 8, 2011 | © Courtesy of Wojtek Gurak/Flickr.

In March 2019, De Gruyter has published in German a collected volume of scholarly articles dealing with the present and future interrelations between China and Germany as well as their expected challenges, inherent prospects and long-term outlook.1 As this collection is edited by Yu Zhang, who presides over the Berlin-based Association for German-Chinese Cultural Exchanges, this book also explores uncertainties in these interrelations, their regional contexts and multifaceted aspects, such as business, cultural and social domains, in which both China and Germany are active.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


In her introduction to this book, Yu Zhang (2019: 2-9) casts a critical glance at the contemporary turbulent conditions in which relations between China and Germany are represented domestically and internationally, while inquiring into whether these two countries can be anchors of global stability in years to come. Representing an institutional perspective on these issues, Clemens Fuest (2019: 13-24) has counterposed China and Germany as competing economic systems the state of trade and investment relations between which has important implications for both Asia and Europe respectively, especially in the context of the economic rise of the former.

Similarly, Eric Schweitzer (2019: 25-31) has concentrated on the opportunities that Chinese and German economic complementarities create, particularly in relation to innovation-oriented cooperation in the framework of the China-led Belt and Road initiative. It encompasses developed and emerging markets along the historical Silk Road and maritime routes. Ma Weihua (2019: 33-39) and Michael Reuther (2019: 61) echo this position by laying a stress on financial cooperation between China and Germany, while highlighting the importance of globalization processes for continuous economic development.

In his contribution, Parag Khanna (2019: 41-48), a prominent international affairs commentator, posits a possibility that, as interrelations between Asia and Europe become increasingly intensive, a Eurasian era begins, despite political and economic tensions that continue to exist between China and the West. In spite of this, as Dieter Zetsche (2019: 53) indicates, German corporations enter into long-term partnerships with their counterparts. Likewise, Henry Cai (2019: 73) points to the win-win opportunities for investment by both Chinese and German companies in the Industry 4.0 domain, such as that of Midea (2019: 91) into German robotics firms.

As Chinese corporations, like Alibaba, become increasingly global (Hirn, 2019: 83), cooperation between China and Germany in the areas of environmental protection, consumer product quality standards and ecological responsibility also becomes increasingly important (Koch, 2019: 141; Maurer, 2019: 105; Schweitzer, 2019: 131). Likewise, as artificial intelligence solutions become applied across various areas, such as smart cities, in China and Germany (Tie, 2019: 119; Wegner & Fischer, 2019: 149), the perspectives of joint innovation-related cooperation between these countries are faced with both promising opportunities and significant challenges, as Hakan Lanfredi (2019: 161) notes.

In this respect, international culture-related collaboration initiatives can contribute to the overcoming of barriers to closer links between respective Chinese and German industries, arts institutions, and cultural organizations (China Media Capital Management Board, 2019: 169; Engelke, 2019: 169; Weishan, 2019: 211). This can lead to the development of cultural brands, such as in the sphere of design, border-crossing civil society and culture-related exchanges and person-to-person social contacts, e.g., via public gourmet cuisine and literature reading events (Liaoyu, 2019: 231; Poletto, 2019: 255; Zec, 2019: 199; Zhang, 2019: 221).

This is also likely to create connections between local communities in China and Germany (Johnson, 2019: 245).

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Germany Pavilion, Shanghai EXPO 2010, Shanghai, China, March 8, 2011 | © Courtesy of Wojtek Gurak/Flickr.

Footnotes

  1. Zhang, Y. (Ed.). (2019). China und Deutschland: 5.0: Chance, Herausforderung und Prognose. 机会与挑战:中德关系 5.0. [China and Germany: 5.0 – Challenges, Chances, and Prognoses]. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG.
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