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Gregory So
World Economy

German Firms Benefiting From Asia Growth

German firms are closely tied to Asia and are making good money in the region’s fast-growing economies. This year’s Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business is taking place in Hong Kong.

It only takes 15 hours to unload the Santa Maria (ship). Some 1,200 containers, many of them filled with perishable goods like fruits and vegetables, are taken from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland. The transit times in Hong Kong’s huge harbor need to be short. Every additional hour costs a lot of money and often the ships are already queuing up to enter into Hong Kong’s harbor, DW reported.

“The harbor is the gateway to China. Many loads destined for southern China are transported via Hong Kong,” explains Stefan Kirschner from logistics firm Hamburg Sud. His company is one of the ten largest container-shipping lines in the world and employs 180 people as well as subcontractors in Hong Kong alone.

“Hong Kong has the advantage that business deals can be made quickly and fairly unbureaucratically here. On the Chinese mainland that often takes more effort,” Kirschner says. He has been running operations here for many years and knows business in China very well.

Over the next few weeks, he faces the challenge of making his ships go faster. A total of five container ships will be going back and forth between Valparaiso in Chile and Hong Kong just to deliver fresh cherries to China.

Despite slower growth overall, there are still many goods being exported from China, among them electronics and toys, and the Chinese are eagerly importing goods as well.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said in his speech that he is excited about the more than 1,000 participants who have come to the 15th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business, taking place from November 3-5 in Hong Kong.

“This grand strategy encourages closer economic as well as cultural cooperation among some 60-plus economies, particularly those emerging economies spanning Asia, Europe and Africa. The Belt and Road covers various aspects and proposes cooperation in many sectors, in particular, in terms of enhancing policy coordination, strengthening infrastructural facilities connectivity, facilitating unimpeded trade and investment, deepening financial integration and building people-to-people bonds,” he said.

“German businesses also have great potential to reap the opportunities under the Belt and Road,” he said.

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