In this issue of German Chamber Ticker, we will take a closer look at opportunities and challenges coming along with the digital transformation of the transportation industry. Proven experts in their fields will analyze how the digitalization of cars, production and supply chain as well as new concepts of transportation are transforming a whole industry by creating new business opportunities. At the same time there is also new competition and for traditional manufacturers the necessity of business agility to ensure sustainable success in the future. We hope that you enjoy reading!


Yours sincerely,
Lothar Herrmann


Download PDF Version (part 1 - page 1-59)

Download PDF Version (part 2 - page 60-128)

Cover Story 1 - The Future Starts Now

The Journey from Self-driving Cars to Space Travel


While Elon Musk, “in a galaxy far, far away,” plans to make our life multi planetarian by improving space transportation technology, on the Planet Earth visionaries of the transportation industry are shaping the future of this field and its impact on people and goods mobility. The radical change is related with the integration of new technologies with a new concept of transportation.

Smart roads and smart cities will be the backbone of this new concept and will help to improve the circulation of the increasing number of vehicles in the future highly populated cities. How will this be possible?


Cover Story 2 - An Industry in Transition

The Opportunities and Challenges of a Digital Transformation in the Automotive Industry


From the products we use, to the services that are readily available to meet customer demands, advances in technology are changing all aspects of our lives at a very rapid pace. Automobiles can no longer solely be regarded as a method of transportation as they have evolved into self-driving computers on wheels. The automotive industry continues to develop dynamically in terms of digital transformation and is placing high demands on products, management and employees. Rapid changes are bringing digital disruption to yesterday’s business models. The speed of realizing today’s ideas from drawing board to production occurs in months rather than decades.


Cover Story 3 - Potential Untapped

The Chinese Used Car Market in the Times of “Internet Plus”


The used car market in China has been growing steadily for almost 15 years. According to the China Automobile Dealers Association, in 2015, the annual transaction volume of used cars in Chinaincreased by approximately 2.3% to 9.4mn units compared to 2014. Additionally, the annual turnover increased by 26% to RMB 368bn. More and more friendly policies as well as the dynamic “Internet Plus” environment allow the used cars market to rapidly grow in China. The market is estimated to reach 20mn units in 2020. However, used cars make up a very small part (around 28% in 2015) of total car sales in China compared to mature markets, in which the transaction rate of used cars is around 70% of the overall car sales. There is still enormous potential for growth – especially in the times of “Internet Plus”1.


Cover Story 4 - Chinese Car Buying is Changing

The Industry’s Retail Channels Need to Change with it


Recent years haven’t been easy for the premium car industry in China.   Dealers and their investors or financial backers, already feeling the pinch from mounting real estate costs and failing stock markets, must also deal with increased market competition and more demanding and better informed customers. Many are finding it difficult to secure financing even as their margins come under pressure from independent service providers or “ISPs” in the crucial aftersales business. The result is that dealerships are increasingly relying on car manufacturers financially to remain afloat, while others have simply gone under.


Cover Story 5 - Market Overhaul in China's Automotive Industry

A Look at the New Legal Framework for Automakers, Parts Suppliers, Dealers, and After-sales Service Providers


China is the world’s largest automotive market based on unit sales with a global market share of roughly 20%, which is projected to grow to 30% by 2025. But although China has been forcing foreign automakers into joint venture arrangements with local car makers, the transfer of know-how does not seem to have translated into a strong local industry that could rival the dominant foreign players.

Unsatisfied with the progress to date, the Chinese government appears to be pursuing a new strategy in recent years. While multipronged, the bottom line of this new strategy is a tougher stance on foreign automakers, both from the legislative and the enforcement side.


In the Spotlight - The Masters of Managing Change

Interview with Dr. Theo Sommer, Editor-at-Large, Die Zeit.


Dr. Theo Sommer is an author and newspaper editor best known as the editor-at-large of the German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” in Hamburg. After studying History and Political science he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Tübingen. He also taught at Harvard University and the University of Hamburg. Dr. Sommer has worked as a publisher for “Times Media”, “Atlantic Media” and “Asia Times.” He also has an extensive experience working for foreign publications such as Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo) and Joong Ang Ilbo (Seoul).

Dr. Sommer returned to Shanghai in June 2016 to join part of Zeit Reisen’s bus journey from Hamburg to Shanghai, and back again; a 53 day exploration along the old silk road. The German Chamber Ticker team had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Sommer and discuss his previous experiences of China, and his observations and predictions for China’s future.


Features 1 - Consumer Protection

New Legal Developments in PRC Law


In recent years, consumer protection increasingly plays a more important role in Chinese legislation. On 25th October 2013 the PRC Consumer Protection Law was amended. An important feature of effective consumer protection are recalls of defective products. An obligation to recall defective products was already provided in the PRC Tort Law. Article 46 of the PRC Tort Law provides that if product defects are discovered after the products are put into circulation, the manufacturer and the seller shall promptly adopt remedial measures such as warning and product recall etc. If any damage is caused due to the failure of remedial measures, the manufacturer and the seller shall be jointly liable under tort law.


Features 2 - The Long March to Marketing Chinability

Cultural Intelligence and Business Success


Doing business in China is not a sprint but a Long March. Even after almost four decades of reform and opening, success factors for many companies remain a great unknown. Aside from economic conditions and government influence, foreign culture and language in particular prevent companies from obtaining the crucial access to the market. Reports of extraordinary success but also disastrous failure circulate in the media and help to establish an ambivalent viewpoint of fascination and fear. High expectations easily turn into disappointment.


Features 3 - Compliant to Perform?

Navigating Issues for Your Business in China


Michael is responsible for handling various large-scale projects at his employer’s in Shanghai. In early 2015, Michael Zhang (the name has been changed) was invited by one of the company’s smaller, rather insignificant suppliers to attend the launch of a new product and inauguration of the supplier’s new premises in Hong Kong. The business partner promised to bear flight and travel costs. The “product launch and subsequent sightseeing” was planned from Friday until Sunday.

Michael was unsure whether he should accept the invitation and thought of the different options...


Features 4 - How to Get Rid of Fake Products

E-commerce Platforms and Intellectual Property Rights


The internet has fundamentally changed the way the world does business and the way people trade in goods and services. The online world has put companies and consumers from all over the world in contact with each other. In 2000 there were 400 million global internet users. By comparison, in 2015 there were 3.2 billion internet users in the world, and still half of the world’s population is not yet connected to the internet.

Trade between the EU and China is going strong and is expected to continue to grow, but what is happening with all those internet users? Are they buying goods and services online? The answer is yes.


More than Business - First More than a Market Awards

German Chamber of Commerce in China | Shanghai Presents

First More than a Market Awards 

At its inaugural event on 25th May 2016, the German Chamber of Commercein China | Shanghai, together with Bertelsmann Stiftung and supported by the German Consulate General Shanghai, presented the More than a Market Award to four German companies to honor their outstanding social engagement in Chinese society.

Ms. Bettina Schoen, chairwoman of the board of the German Chamber of Commerce in China | Shanghai guided the assembled German business representatives, governmental officials and corporate social responsibility stakeholders through the evening.


German Chamber Ticker Editorial Team


Olivia Helvadjian

Senior Communications Manager & Chief Editor

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