Delegationsreise  |  Berlin (Germany)  |  April 2014
BVMW-Member Susanne Zippel in dialogue with representatives of chinese economy

In april 2014, a high profile group of chinese managers and CEOs of chinese private businesses traveled through six german cities. The visit was part of the Executive Development Program (EDP) of the China International Talent Development Center (CITDC) and themed “ importance of the middle-class economy for structural change, technology and innovation in Germany as a leading industrial location, as well as possibilities of cooperations.” It was lead by Dr. Lutz Werner, former governmental director in the ministry of economy and responsible for german-chinese economic relations, who is now executive manager at Hi-Tech Media AG Göttingen.

At the first stop in Berlin, the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW), with over 250.000 members Germany’s largest voluntarily organized enterpreneurs’ association, invited to an exchange of ideas and information. The roughly 50 chinese businesspeople were very interested in finding out about the activities of the BVMW and seized the opportunity to ask the seven representatives of in Berlin located businesses many questions. Susanne Zippel, CEO of the design office Mittelpunkt•Zhongdian and BVMW-member, was among the guests.

At first, the innovations of the high-tech enterprises Knick Electric Measuring Devices Ltd. and neochem Ltd. were of special interest. Furthermore, the chinese guests were keen to find out how german companies were so successful in keeping their well-educated employees from moving to another job. Marcus Knick, CEO of the family-owned enterprise Knick, answered, that the secret was mutual respect and dignity of the individual; financial reasons being at a relatively low priority. Susanne Zippel named some examples of family-friendliness, especially when employees are deployed abroad over a long time-span.

With another question, the askers good preparation became evident: Mr. Wang, business consultant in China, stated that worldwide a total of 4,600 traditional, or, in a further sense, family-owned businesses existed, 400 of which are located in Brazil, while Germany hosts 160 (I don’t guarantee to have remembered all of these numbers 100% accurately). In China, on the other hand, there are only about 16 (this number is correct). How do you sustain a company, an idea, an invention for so long? The answer, short and concise: strategic thinking and planning. The longer, more detailed answer also lists the early search for motivated inheritants, the investigation of new, fitting and tactically assorted business areas, a strong, long-term financial base as well as Germany’s political and legal liabilities.

 

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