China will remain globally relevant

Many nations and areas, including China, are facing unprecedented disruptions as a result of global challenges

The outgoing president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China has lived in China for over forty years. Wuttke discusses China’s future in an in-depth interview with The Market NZZ.

In this interview Joerg Wuttke highlights that Beijing’s ideological reorientation does not necessarily mean that China wants to isolate itself economically and industrially. President Xi Jinping’s slogan that China should be independent of the world, but the world should be dependent on China, is a deeply worrying prospect for Wuttke, a globalization advocate who founded the EU Chamber of Commerce in China in 2000 with a view to the country’s admission to the WTO.

With the trust between Washington and Beijing gone, Wuttke argues that the Cold War analogy is misleading as today’s conflict is a trade and technology war between two closely intertwined economic powers. He believes that a deliberate attack on Taiwan is not feasible but warns that a ‘sleepwalking’ accident could happen if both parties continue to act irresponsibly.

Wuttke points out that the service sector is doing well, with hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and airplanes booked up again. However, the employment situation is weak, with hardly any new workers being hired.

The manufacturing sector, leading economic indicators, are dipping again. The automotive sector for electric vehicles (EVs) is doing quite well, and China has been exporting at record levels, but the combustion engines sector is struggling.

Joerg Wuttke still sees positive signals from the Party leadership for the private sector, including foreign companies. The new Prime Minister Li Qiang , with a good reputation with private companies is trying to create trust in IT sector, for example.

But he also wants to see the private sector unleashed again, as it has tremendous resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. Finally, unless a company is at risk of being targeted by American sanctions or when it is overrun by Chinese overcapacity, Wuttke advises European companies to stay in China, not to turn their backs on China, despite the political uncertainty.

Joerg Wuttke offers a cautiously optimistic view of the situation in China. While acknowledging the challenges posed by the country’s ideological path and the ongoing conflict with the US, Wuttke believes that there are opportunities for growth and development for both Chinese and foreign companies. Staying in the “fitness club” that is China, to remain globally relevant. The Chinese economy is extremely good at developing products and processes, and they can learn to be faster and more willing to take risks in the Chinese market.


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