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Friday, July 5, 2019

CEIBS Insights | The 5th Europe Forum - Munich

Fresh Impetus for China-Germany Cooperation: Consumption Upgrading and Technological Revolution

In recent years, trade between China and Germany has boomed. In 2016, China became Germany’s largest trading partner. In the first half of 2018, China’s trade volume with Germany alone exceeded its combined trade volume with Britain, France, and Italy. Adding to the tally, Germany is one of just a handful of countries to run a trade surplus against China. After gaining early entry to the Chinese market, many German car, consumer electronics, and household goods brands have built up popular followings there, transforming “Made in Germany” into a sign of quality in the minds of middle-class consumers and even outdoing “Made in Japan” and “Made in the USA.” However, despite achieving so many milestones, trade growth between China and Germany has recently begun to stall, and is in need of a new source of impetus.

The fact that bilateral trade is already strong doesn't preclude further growth and there are plenty of well-known German brands that have yet to enter the Chinese market. For example, products from DM, Germany's largest drugstore chain, were long popular with unofficial importers from China, but it wasn't until the end of 2016 that DM formally entered the Chinese market through Tmall.com, China’s leading B2C cross-border e-commerce marketplace. Suning, one of China’s leading O2O retailers, has also begun sourcing German products more aggressively, opening a representative office in Germany and deploying teams of overseas buyers to snap up German foodstuffs, household products, consumer electronics, cultural goods, and patented technologies. Another potential growth source is the "New Retail" strategy adopted by Chinese e-commerce giants that aims to introduce high-quality, low-cost German products to Chinese households, raising the prospect that China and Germany might take bigger bites from a growing trade pie. Moreover, with Industry 4.0 on the horizon, Germany stands to gain from its technical prowess in fields such as AI, robotics, quantum information, virtual reality, and biotechnology. If German companies can apply their know-how to the Internet of Things, Internet of Vehicles, and AI to meet the needs of China’s new middle class (typically those born in the 80s and 90s), they could provide a new engine for China-Germany trade cooperation for the next four decades.

So, against this backdrop, how should Chinese and German businesses deploy their respective strengths? How can they leverage the "New Retail" strategy to effectively market German brands to China's middle class? How can they seize the golden opportunity of China's consumption upgrade and match German AI applications with the demands of younger Chinese consumers? These are all questions that are central to finding new impetus for China-Germany trade growth. At this forum, industry experts and entrepreneurs from China and Germany will discuss transformations in the retail landscape, helping to forge new academic, business, and political partnerships.




Welcome Speech

  • Prof. Mingjun Li
    President, CEIBS
  • Mr. Donglin Zheng
    President, Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Germany (CHKD e.V.)
  • Ms. Yanyan Wu
    Head of Government and External Affairs Asia, BMW Group

Dr. Snow Zhou
Assistant President, CEIBS


Opening Speech

Mr. Weidong Wang
Commercial Minister-Counsellor, Embassy of the People's Republic of China to Germany


Keynote Speech I

Prof. Bin Xu
Professor of Economics and Finance; Wu Jinglian Chair in Economics; 
Associate Dean (Research), CEIBS


Keynote Speech II

Mr. Roland Weigert
State Secretary in the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy

Panel Discussion I: New Retail Driven by Consumption Upgrade

With consumption upgrade in full swing across China, changes in consumer demand are prompting retailers to switch their focus from quantity to quality, from a product-centric business model to a consumer-centric one, and from throat-cutting price wars to better consumer experience. “New Retail” is catching on to meet the peculiar needs of millennials, who are becoming mainstream consumers and whose consumption is often multiple and disjointed. While China’s consumption upgrade presents a golden opportunity for retailers, the greatest challenge for long-established, quality-focused German retail brands may be to win the hearts and minds of younger Chinese consumers. Their success in the Chinese market will hinge on whether they can make the most of social e-commerce platforms and new retail tools. In this session, guests will discuss this topic.


Prof. Katherine Rong Xin
Professor of Management; Bayer Chair in Leadership; Associate Dean (Europe); Director of Hospitality EMBA Program; Co-Director of Centre for Globalisation of Chinese Companies, CEIBS


  • Mr. Yunwei Zhu, Design Manager, Jomoo European Operation Centre
  • Mr. Maximilian Kaub, Director Marketing & Sales, Confiserie Burg Lauenstein GmbH
  • Mr. Clemens Pflanz, Founder and President, MEISTERKREIS 
  • Mr. Christoph Winterer, Operating Partner China, Japan, India and Myanmar, Member of Global Operating Board, METRO AG


Coffee Break

Panel Discussion II: Consumption Upgrade Empowered by AI Technology

If mobile internet technology has laid a solid foundation for consumption upgrade, the advancement of AI technology is expected to provide an impetus for its sustained development. As AI technology continues to develop in leaps and bounds, new applications like e-payment, smart home, and smart cars are mushrooming and evolving into new access points for user traffic. Inspired by the technological progress that has improved consumer experience and shaped a new ecosystem, prominent investors have shouted the slogan that all consumer goods are worth remaking. For an array of retail brands targeting the Chinese market, the challenge is not whether AI technology should be applied, but how it can be applied to reinvent retail. When technology is readily available, your business success depends on your imagination of what kind of a product you can churn out that can really make your customers satisfied. In this session, guests will present their point of view about this topic.


Mr. Timon Ruban
Co-founder and Managing Director, Luminovo GmbH


  • Mr. Hui Zhang, Managing Director, NIO GmbH
  • Mr. David Wang, Deputy CEO, Huawei Technologies Deutschland GmbH
  • Mr. Andreas Hube, Global Vice President, Head of China Liaison Office, SAP SE
  • Ms. Sisi Zheng, Head of China Technology Project, Deutsche Bahn AG & Innovation Manager DB Regio AG


Networking Cocktails

China Europe International Business School

CHKD (The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Germany)

BMW Welt, Munich

Online Registration

Ms. Chen
Tel: +86-21-28905354
Email: ctiffany@ceibs.edu