„APK is an ideal opportunity to learn about future trends“
As an emerging economy with a huge growing population, Indonesia is one of the leading voices within the ASEAN region. Therefore Jakarta is the perfect location for the 16th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business. During this event in November 2018 business and political representatives have the opportunity to discuss future trends and promote economic relations between Germany and Asia-Pacific. One main focus of this year’s conference will be the digital revolution and Industry 4.0.
An interview with Dr. Hubert Lienhard, Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) and CEO & President at Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA.
There are many conferences out there. Who should attend the 16th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK) 2018 and why?
Our conference is the largest gathering of business and political representatives from Germany and Asia-Pacific – in Jakarta we expect again up to 1,000 participants. At the APK, top-level CEOs, ministers, governmental and non-governmental officials share their thoughts and lessons learned, and every attendee is invited to join in the debate. Conversations about the most pressing issues of our time take place on stage and informally during the receptions. For that reason, the APK provides the best litmus test to determine where German-Asian relations are headed and how to shape this process for our mutual benefit. It has become a common saying that Asia’s economic clout is increasing. On the other hand, considering trends such as digitalisation in manufacturing, the German industry is a prime partner for Asian businesses to cooperate with.
The APK is organised every two years in a different Asian country; what makes Indonesia the perfect place for APK 2018?
In deciding on locations for the APK, we try to do justice to the diversity of the region. After a very successful conference in Hong Kong in 2016, we are now moving again to an emerging market with its very own set of opportunities and challenges. With the largest Muslim population in the world, a rising middle class, a young and growing population with a growth rate of around five percent, a backlog in terms of infrastructure development and industrial modernization, and its strong need for sustainable solutions, Indonesia – as a leading voice within ASEAN – struck us as the right place to go with the APK.
The speakers of the APK are very high level; what topics will they focus on and what messages or input can we expect?
As for the program, we will continue our successful mix of established panels as well as new formats and topics. Participants from previous years are already familiar with the minister’s dialogue on the EU and Asia in the World, or with our panel on political stability and security in the Asia-Pacific chaired by the Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger. After the great success in Hong Kong, we are planning on another installment of our Industrie 4.0-panel where CEOs from Germany and the Asia-Pacific region will debate the current state and future of the digital revolution. In fact, an entire cluster of panels will touch on related topics such as innovation as well as the future of cities, mobility and services, among others. With our panel on trade policy we will be going in another direction this time. Looking at the dispute whether we need free trade or rather less free trade but more fair trade, we will organize an Oxford-style debate on this topic. Of course, we also have to talk about infrastructure development and financing given recent initiatives by China and other countries to foster connectivity both within the Asia-Pacific region and between Asia and Europe.
Personally speaking, what is your biggest take-away from previous APKs?
What interests me in particular is to get a sense of the general political and economic climate in the Asia-Pacific region. The variety of perspectives – from security experts to economists, from Australians to Indians, from CEOs to ministers, from academics to practitioners on the ground – is what really inspires me to think differently on German-Asian relations. Moreover, APK is an ideal opportunity to learn about future trends. According to our survey, this perception is shared by 70 percent of last APK’s participants in Hong Kong.
Where do you see the most potential for the cooperation between Germany on the one hand and the Asia-Pacific region on the other?
The shift of Asian businesses towards quality production and innovation in conjunction with Germany’s outstanding position in R&D offers a vast potential for cooperation. German companies are highly specialized in developing new products and re-designing existing technologies together with their corporate customers in Asia-Pacific. Together Asia and Germany are able to set global standards and invest in propitious ventures. Databased manufacturing is a particular strength of German business which is a pioneer in Industrie 4.0, the digitalisation of industry. Asian businesses are highly interested in a more efficient production. Opposed to the rather data-based design in the US, this is an opportunity for deeper cooperation of Asia and Europe. In addition, Germany’s energy transition and efforts to increase energy efficiency are important experiences, which provide insights for Asia. It can encourage governments and firms alike to follow Germany’s way towards a more sustainable future.
What is your personal expectation towards APK 2018 in Jakarta?
I really look forward to the APK in Jakarta. My conversations with Thomas Lembong, Chairman at Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, reinforced my conviction that Jakarta is the right place to be with our 16th APK. We can expect every support we need from the Indonesian government. Moreover, I am excited to meet again another group of young leaders who will take part in the Asia-Europe Young Leaders Forum that we have organized for many years together with Bertelsmann Stiftung during our APKs. The mutual interest of young talents from Germany and Asia- Pacific makes me hopeful regarding the growing ties between our regions.
Key data from the 15th APK in Hong Kong
- 1,000+ Conference participants
- 800+ Decision makers from economics, business
- 117+ Speakers
- 26 Countries of attendees' origin
- 20+ Innovative & interactive sessions
- 20+ Hours of gathering & networking opportunities
Information on 16th APK 2018 in Jakarta
Every 2 years in the Asia-Pacific region
Discuss and promote economic relations between Germany and Asia-Pacific
Date & Venue
01-03 November 2018
The Ritz-Carlton Pacific Place
The German federal minister for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Association (APA)
APA, BMWi, and the AHKs in Asia-Pacific
AHK Indonesia (EKONID)
1,000 delegates primarily from Germany and Asia-Pacific