This issue is particularly exciting, as there are a number of opportunities for German and Chinese companies to learn from each other and partner up. As a special highlight in this issue, we are proud to feature an exclusive interview with Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel, who will not only share his unique insights into the potential of “Industry 4.0” but also shed light on his involvement as co-chairman of this year’s of the Asia Pacific Conference in Hong Kong - the biannual flagship event for business leaders, executives and government representatives from Germany and Asia to actively advance economic relations across the Asia-Pacific region.

We hope that you will enjoy reading this issue of German Chamber Ticker!

Yours sincerely,

Cover Story 1 - Happily Ever After?

Exploring the Future of Artificial Intelligence


Professor Stephen Hawking, the world’s pre-eminent theoretical physicist, has been particularly outspoken on the subject of AI. In a discussion with the BBC the professor warned "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." While his strong opinions have been known for some time, these remarks followed an upgrade of his communication technology, which includes a basic form of language processing AI. The system developed by Intel also involved specialists from Swiftkey. The British company already has a smartphone keyboard app and software used by the professor functions in a similar manner, learning the way in which he thinks, and much like predictive text, suggests the words that he might want to use next.


Cover Story 2 - Data-driven Healthcare

Striving for Efficiency with Applications of Advanced IT


The information age has provided anyone with a mobile device access to information on an unprecedented scale. But access to this wealth of information is of limited benefit to making important decisions if humans can’t make sense of it all in a reasonable amount of time. Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to radically speed up the process of using information in new ways to make decisions. Better information technology is making a difference in how healthcare is delivered today.

In August 2016, doctors in Japan reported the first ever instance in their country of AIpowered medicine saving a woman’s life. After doctors discovered their treatment was ineffective on a leukemia patient, they turned to IBM’s Watson, a cloud-based AIpowered software system that has learned from tens of millions of oncology papers and an enormous amount of leukemia data.


Cover Story 3 - No Bit or Byte

Production in China’s near Future


In Europe there exist quite differing views on production in China. On the one hand a large number of companies work with outdated manufacturing technologies and inefficient processes. On the other hand, an increasing number of companies have become fully automated, delivering products and services with the highest precision. Among others, there are two aspects to take into consideration: First, the Chinese ability of fast learning, already well known in the Western world. Second, the achieved level regarding the development of novel software systems and their application, like for example the advantages of “WeChat” compared to the old-fashioned western “WhatsApp.” With these perspectives the potential for intelligence-oriented production in China seems to be wide open.


Cover Story 4 - More Empowered than Ever Before

The Chinese Laborer is Changing


China’s manufacturing sector, and its cheap labor force, has long been a vital part of the country’s economic make up and growth. However, with China’s movement towards a service based economy, the power of the manufacturing sector has diminished.

This, coupled with rising worker expectations and targeted labor laws have increased wages and worker empowerment. Subsequently, the sector is going through a number of structural changes from the movement from the East coast to inland provinces and ASEAN in search of cheaper labor, to the proposed movements towards more automated factory floors.


Cover Story 5 - Past, Present and Future

Artificial Intelligence in the Automotive Industry


Since Germany’s promotion of the concept of Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence has increasingly become a hot topic of discussion. Artificial refers to using machines. In computer science, the ideal "intelligent" machine is a flexible rational agent that perceives its environment and takes action to maximize its chances of success at a set goal. Although this is not the beginning of artificial intelligence, it indeed manifests a new era, which focuses on how to use robots and the internet together to make human lives better.


Cover Story 6 - The Complex, Connected World of Industry 4.0

Interview with Dr. Henning Kagermann


Throughout history, industrial production has transformed. It began with steam and water power in the nineteenth century, mass production and electricity in the early twentieth century and automation and computing some 50 years ago. Now, the introduction of cyber-physical systems, cloud computing and the Internet of Things and Services into the manufacturing environment is ushering in a fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. Dr. Henning Kagermann is a German physicist and businessman. He joined SAP in 1982 and in 2009 assumed the office of president of acatech – German Academy of Science and Engineering. He is known for being one of the founding fathers of the concept of Industry 4.0.


In the Spotlight - The Entire Asia-Pacific Region is Highly Attractive for Our Companies

Interview with Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, and Vice-Chancellor of Germany

by THE Delegations of German Industry & Commerce in PR China (AHK)

Asia-Pacific is one of the world’s most important fast-growing regions for German companies. The links between German industry and Asia have become closer and closer in recent years, and our bilateral trade has shot up. At the same time, China is Germany’s main trading partner in Asia. In the run-up to his visit to China in early November, the German Chamber Ticker Team grabbed a chance to discuss current events in the region with Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.


Features 1 - Staying Protected

Trade Secret Protection and Data Protection under Industry 4.0/Made in China 2025


The term “Industry 4.0” was introduced by the German government in 2013. It refers to the combination of several major innovations in digital technology, which are collectively and individually transforming the energy and manufacturing sectors. These technologies include, among others, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, sophisticated sensors as well as cloud computing etc.

Seeing that China’s position as “the world’s factory” is gradually being undermined by the shifting of basic electronics assembly to developing countries with lower labor costs, it drew inspiration from Germany’s “Industry 4.0.” On 8th May 2015, the Chinese government introduced the program “Made in China 2025.”


Features 2 - Collecting Evidence

The ins and outs of Non-Competition Cases


To protect their trade secrets, employers typically enter into non-competition agreements with their employees to restrict the employees from working for their direct competitors within a specified period of time after the termination of labor relations. If an employee violates a non-competition agreement by working for a direct competitor of his or her former employer, the former employer can file an arbitration or lawsuit against the defaulting employee. In cases of such non-competition violations, employers are responsible for providing adequate evidence to prove their allegations against defaulting employees in arbitration or court proceedings.


More than Business - CSR is a Passion not a Fashion Trend

Thilo Koeppe on CSR in China and the Industry 3.5 concept


Industry 4.0 focuses on increasing efficiency, quality and flexibility, while adopting cyber connectivity. Where Industry 4.0 puts CPS (cyber-physical systems) in its focus, the Inclusion Factory’s Industry 3.5 concept focuses on human talents namely Talents with Disabilities (TwD). The aim is to provide challenged individuals with the training to produce demanding cable harnesses and assemble a variety of products using specially designed fixtures and machinery.

GC Ticker team met with Thilo Koeppe, chairman of the board of directors,Taicang Inclusion Factory to further discuss CSR in China and the Industry 3.5 concept.


German Chamber Ticker Editorial Team


Olivia Helvadjian

Senior Communications Manager & Chief Editor

Send e-mail
Download vCard