The OAV and Hamburg Chamber of Commerce brought together young talents from business, politics, academia and non-governmental organisations at the Young Leaders’ Forum the day before the ‘Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe’, a biennial high-level conference on Sino-European economic relations. The next conference will take place in 2018.
After the successful establishment of the Young Leaders’ Forum in 2014, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and the OAV welcomed young experts from China and Europe for the second time. The forum, which was held one day before the ‘Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe’, brought together exceptional personalities from business, politics, academia and non-governmental organisations to discuss current topics within the area of Sino–European relations with high-ranking speakers.
Corinna Nienstedt, Director of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, and C. Michael Illies, Vice-Chairman of the OAV, welcomed the participants and pointed out the importance of close cooperation between China and Europe. They emphasised that there is no doubt that China already shapes our daily lives to a considerable extent and is even going to increase its importance and influence. Especially in the eco- nomic sphere, Germany and China have developed deep, constructive and mutually beneficial relations over the past two decades. A practical example was given by Yulong Yang, Hainan Airlines Berlin Office and Board Member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Germany (CHKD). As a young representative, he gave an insight into the branch and its developments from the point view of a Chinese enterprise in Germany.
The main programme started with interactivity provided by the workshop ‘China 2030: Scenarios and Strategies for European Enterprises’, led by Bernhard Bartsch, Bertelsmann Stiftung. Taking into account its geopolitical influence, its economic power and its innovation potential, China’s future role is uncertain in different ways. Divided into small groups, the Young Leaders focused on six scenarios and discussed China’s potential development as well as possible consequences for Germany. During the subsequent discussion round moderated by Emrah Camli, OAV, the panellists Mark Böschen, manager magazin, Alexander Özbahadir, Jungheinrich AG, and Dr Margot Schüller, GIGA Institute of Asian Studies, debated the topic of ‘Challenges and Opportunities – the Future of EU–China Business Relations’ and contributed three different viewpoints: a business perspective, an academic perspective and a journalist’s perspective.
The presentation ‘Innovations in China’ by Clas Neumann, SAP SE, showed China as a front runner in the era of digitalisation. It will become the country with the world’s largest R&D spending by 2020. Afterwards, the Young Leaders got the chance to meet The Honourable Kevin Rudd, who was the Prime Minister of Australia twice. The strategic importance of the new Silk Road initiative (OBOR) and the opportunities it holds for Sino–European cooperation were discussed. Another point of focus was the Western world’s future relationship with China, the addressee of confrontational statements by Donald Trump during the election campaign in the United States, which raised questions. In this respect, Rudd emphasised the significant influence held by Xi Jinping. Rudd went on to say that Xi is managing to bolster and lastingly strengthen his power base within the Communist Party at home, especially thanks to his anti-corruption campaign. Xi would certainly find a suitable response to any confrontational messages, said Rudd. The programme was rounded off with the closing remarks by the OAV Chairman Hans-Georg Frey and a joint dinner in the evening.