In the first quarter of this year alone, China engaged in more foreign investment than in all of 2015. The shopping tour is no accident. Chinese companies are under massive pressure to acquire foreign technologies to increase their economic value creation in the mid-term. The Chinese government made this a priority in its “Made in China 2025” plan, and is pressuring interesting countries and regions to further develop its economy in terms of technology and consumer orientation.
From a European point of view, China’s rise as an export market offers a chance, while its activities as a strategic investor constitute a menace. We have come to a crossroads and must decide: Do we support free trade or will we give in to protectionist reflexes? Or is there an intelligent compromise between the two?