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German-Chinese Dialogue in Cologne: How smart are NRW/Germany and China really?

At the Business and Investors Forum China 2019 in Cologne, Chinese and German representatives from business and politics discuss future topics such as Smart City and Smart Innovation.

For the eighth time, the state-owned business development agency NRW.INVEST is organizing the Business and Investors Forum China together with the City of Cologne, KölnBusiness Wirtschaftsförderungs-GmbH and the German-Chinese Business Association. Around 500 managers and experts from China and Germany will travel to this year's forum in Cologne's Flora to exchange views on smart developments in business and society such as mobile technologies and new mobility concepts. The forum is regarded as an important network meeting that offers investors the opportunity to initiate Chinese-German projects. The event is under the patronage of NRW Minister President Armin Laschet and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Federal Republic of Germany, Wu Ken.

For the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Chinese companies are important cooperation partners for advancing digital change. "North Rhine-Westphalia and China want to set standards with new digital solutions. Smart technologies and the Internet of Things, mobile communication and payment, smart power grids and climate-neutral production play a key role in this," says Christoph Dammermann, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia. "It is precisely in these future areas that we are endeavoring to constantly intensify German-Chinese cooperation, because here both economic nations can benefit from each other."

After the last event in 2016, the Business and Investors Forum China is returning to the Rhine punctually for the start of the Cologne China Festival. And with good reason, thinks Henriette Reker, Mayor of the City of Cologne: "Today's economic conference unites two of my heartfelt concerns: Smart City and the economic relations between the People's Republic of China and the city of Cologne as an attractive international business location. The forum offers an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas on concepts of innovative urban development. As different as the paths are: Smart City is the key to a livable, urban future."

China remains North Rhine-Westphalia's most important investor country. More than 1,100 Chinese companies control their German and European business from North Rhine-Westphalia. "Our federal state is the first choice when it comes to establishing or expanding a location in Germany," emphasizes Petra Wassner, CEO of NRW.INVEST. "The reasons are manifold. They include the central location and the connection via Belt & Road, the outstanding infrastructure as well as the active cooperation of technology and digital companies with local innovation networks – as well as the vibrant Chinese community comprising more than 30,000 Chinese people."

"Also following the realignment of the Cologne Economic Development Corporation, China remains a focal country of our international activities. The China competence and the excellent location qualities of the city of Cologne offer outstanding conditions for future innovative projects with the dynamic growth market of China," says Dr. Manfred Janssen, Managing Director of KölnBusiness Wirtschaftsförderungs-GmbH, which was founded this year.

The forum offers a platform for exchange between governments, companies and research institutions from Germany and China. The Deputy Secretary General of the Beijing City Government, Liu Yinchun, will provide an insight into the Smart City developments in Cologne's twin city Beijing.

Lin Xiao, General Manager of Air China Frankfurt, Dennis Zuo, CEO of Huawei Technologies Germany, Caroline Coelsch, Project Manager Online and Mobile Payment at the EHI Retail Institute Cologne, Dr. Wei Ding, Advisory Board Member and International Cooperation Officer of 4DAGE Technology and China-Germany Artificial Intelligence Institute, and Dr. Benedikt Schulte, Head of Digital Strategy at REWE Digital, will then talk about mobile technologies and how they are changing consumer behavior in society.

The second block of topics is dedicated entirely to the future of mobility: Dr. Margot Schüller and Prof. Dr. Günther Schuh from RWTH Aachen and CEO of e.GO Mobile, Hui Zhang, Managing Director of NIO, Dr. Yanning Zhao, Manager Engineering Product Innovation EU at Yanfeng Europe Automotive Interior Systems, Ralf Scheller, Member of the Executive Board of TÜV Rheinland AG, and Dr. Ji Yang, Director of European R&D Center at LiangDao Intelligence, will explore the potentials and effects of new mobility concepts.

An accompanying exhibition of all partners offers the opportunity for exchange and networking. Gold partner of the event is Air China.