Die Investoren ziehen weiter, das Geschäftsklima sinkt: Der Wirtschaftspartner China gerät immer stärker unter Druck
China on the big losing streak
Investors are moving on, the business climate is sinking: China as an economic partner is coming under increasing pressure
60 percent of all German companies doing business in and with China consider the communist People's Republic to be a worse investment location than before. This is the devastating verdict of a representative company survey conducted by the Chamber of Foreign Trade in Beijing. Such a change of opinion within just one year is very rare among corporations. The disillusionment is strongest in the sector that has so far relied blindly on the Chinese market: among car manufacturers. In fact, around two-thirds of them say that China is a less attractive location.
In addition to many small reasons, there are two very big ones for the rethink: the government's completely failed Covid policy with its disastrous consequences for the economy. And Russia. After Vladimir Putin's empire itself, China is the world's biggest loser in the medium to long term from the invasion of Ukraine
. This is not even primarily about the public support of Chinese leaders for the aggressor or the fact that China is stepping in as a supplier of numerous goods that no longer come from the West. Not even the fear of possible secondary sanctions plays much of a role. All this worries, if at all, only German politicians, but not German companies.
Since the use of Russian oil and Russian natural gas as a political weapon, the fear has rather been going around in the German business community that all this could be repeated in the case of China. And that could happen soon, if Xi Jinping actually unleashes his troops on Taiwan. No word is suddenly heard as often as "dependence" when talking to German SMEs about China. As a result, they are now rethinking much more quickly than many large German corporations.
Something is returning to the minds of German entrepreneurs that had almost completely disappeared since the beginning of China's opening policy in 1978: people are asking the system question again. For decades, many entrepreneurs and managers believed that one could simply ignore the character of the regime in Beijing. Neither the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 nor the aggressive foreign policy under Xi Jinping from 2012 onward led to a change in this mindset. Only Russia's invasion of Ukraine
led to the necessary shock, which sometimes triggers a realization.
As in the case of Russia, virtually all experts - whether academics or publicists - have been warning for many years against a wrong China strategy. In German politics, too, the number of skeptics has been growing for years - just think of such diverse members of parliament as the Green Reinhard Bütikofer or the Free Democrat Gyde Jensen. Only in the chancellor's office and in corporate headquarters did people stubbornly stick to the course once taken until recently.
Just as there can be no return to the status quo ante in business with Russia, there will be no return to the good old days in China. The country has passed its zenith because the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party has shown itself to be structurally incapable of reform when it comes to its absolute monopoly on power. It keeps falling from one extreme to the other, as the last two years have shown: First, a zero-covid policy of raids and disease police to beat citizens into quarantine detention camps. Now the complete failure to protect the population. Those who now still talk about the "great pragmatism" of the Chinese leaders, as was customary in the German economy for decades, are only making fools of themselves.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator