Chinese, European firms' expansion of cooperation key to stabilizing global supply chain
Xinhua 2023-09-27 09:49

FRANKFURT, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- "We made the right option to partner with a Chinese company, which guarantees trustworthy quality and prompt supply!" said Jacob Borgesius, CEO of Dutch company Alp Lift, when receiving goods from his Chinese supplier Chenli.

"After Chenli's CEO came to the Netherlands to meet us last year and inked a deal, we have now received five order deliveries," said Borgesius. "So I'm really happy with the flexibility in production, and with the timing of our Chinese partners."

Numerous companies have partaken in trade delegations to Europe organized by Chinese provinces and cities to explore business opportunities.

The open and positive mindset of these trade delegations has boosted European companies' confidence in their development in China. Several multinational companies are actively transitioning from a "in China for China" approach to a more global perspective.

This photo taken on June 12, 2023 shows a worker assembling vehicles at the general assembly line of FAW-Volkswagen in Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province. (Xinhua/Yan Linyun)


Since the end of last year, several Chinese provinces and cities have sent trade delegations to Europe to draw investment and expand markets in the face of obstacles posed by slow global economic development and weak demand.

Along with government personnel, many business leaders participated in these trade delegations with a strong desire to engage with their international partners and gain insights into the global business landscape.

"We must adopt a proactive approach and seek business opportunities abroad because opportunities rarely come knocking if we merely stay passive at home," said Li Chendao, chairman of Foshan Juyang New Energy Co., Ltd. This sentiment resonates with many other Chinese enterprises.

After Foshan Juyang's representatives visited its overseas customers as part of a business delegation last November, the company delivered three orders to its Polish customers and two orders to its German customers.

"The trust between us and our customers has deepened, and some customers will pay tens of thousands of dollars in advance as a deposit to confirm their intention to cooperate," Li said.

After nearly three years of online meetings, Borgesius eventually met Chenli's CEO Liu Aijun in person when Liu traveled in December to Europe as a member of a delegation from Jiangsu Province.

"Talking face to face allows for better communication and understanding of the other person," Borgesius said, adding that the meeting made him more confident about working with Chenli. "We hit it off right away at the meeting and signed a 530,000-U.S.-dollar order on the spot."

Borgesius is also planning a trip to China as he wants to "go to China to see the production, to meet the people and to further strengthen the cooperative relationship."

People visit the booth of ZF during the 2023 International Motor Show, officially known as the IAA MOBILITY 2023, in Munich, Germany, Sept. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Ren Pengfei)


Numerous Chinese trade delegations have engaged in discussions with local chambers of commerce and companies, with the aim of enhancing and endorsing the local business environment as well as attracting high-caliber projects for China.

An example is the partnership between the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and China's Chengdu city led to the establishment of Airbus' first aircraft lifecycle service facility outside Europe.

The service center, which will commence operations early next year, is described as a key milestone in Airbus' cooperation with China as its footprint in the country has been expanded to cover the entire industrial chain and strengthen the local aviation industry in aftermarket services, noted the manufacturer's press release.

"Expanding our presence in the Chinese market provides us with the opportunity to discover additional avenues for growth," said Brian Agnew, general manager of Airbus Lifecycle Services, adding that the Chengdu project is driving Airbus to expedite the development of localized services, benefiting not only Chinese customers but also global clients.

Bosch, a leading German engineering and technology company, received a delegation from Wuxi, Jiangsu Province last December.

"The positive signal sent by the Wuxi delegation to Europe further enhanced our confidence in investment and long-term development in China," the company told Xinhua.

Following the meeting in Europe, Bosch representatives also came to China to continue exploring cooperation opportunities. In March, Bosch signed a strategic agreement with Wuxi to promote the development of hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles.

Nowadays, components manufactured at Bosch's Wuxi facility are being utilized in the production of fuel-cell power modules in China and actively contributed to the low-carbon development of the local automotive industry.

Luo Hongxing (L), the overseas marketing director of Foshan Juyang New Energy Co., Ltd., discusses business with overseas customers during a trade delegation's visit to Europe, on Nov. 24, 2022. (Xinhua)


Several international firms are leveraging the favorable Chinese market conditions and fostering development in China, which has contributed to stabilization of the global supply chain and the expansion of cooperation.

"What does it mean to 'rely on China'? Let's look at the market size of China and you will want to have a certain share," said Holger Klein, CEO of German auto parts and components supplier ZF Group, noting that the company has launched several new projects in five Chinese cities this year.

Faced with global economic and industrial transformations, ZF China collaborated with the global team to ensure stability in the supply chain and operations, Klein noted.

More German companies are opting to relocate their industries to China after the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the continued reliability of the Chinese market and supply chain, said Jens Hildebrandt, executive director and board member of the German Chamber of Commerce in China -- North China.

Currently, an increasing number of multinational corporations are intensifying their efforts to localize research and development activities in China, transitioning from the "in China for China" approach to the "in China for the global" strategy.

As a pacemaker in the technology sector, China shows what will happen in the next 10 years around the world, which represents "a big opportunity, especially with our strong connection with our Chinese partners," said Oliver Blume, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group.

Cooperation with China means more opportunities than threats, boosts Volkswagen's business across the world and makes the company even stronger, Blume added.