'AHK Innovation Insights' Newsletter

Every quarter, we handpick the most relevant innovation highlights from China for you to stay on top of the latest trends and get new ideas for your business.

The Innovation Insights aims to cover the following topics: 

  • Latest innovation and technology trends in China: Covering emerging technologies, breakthroughs, and updates in various industries. 
  • Impact of Chinese tech trends on the German economy: Analyzing how the latest tech trends from China affect different sectors of the German economy, such as manufacturing, finance, and healthcare. 
  • Leveraging Chinese innovation trends: Providing actionable insights and strategies for German companies to capitalize on the latest Chinese innovation trends and stay competitive in the global market. 
  • Chinese startup ecosystem: Exploring the dynamics of the Chinese startup scene, including the key players, funding landscape, and regulatory environment. 
  • Expert interviews: Conducting in-depth interviews with founders and industry leaders who have experience doing business in China, sharing their insights and perspectives on the opportunities and challenges in the Chinese market. 

2024 Spring Issue

AHK Innovation Insights

Welcome to the  AHK Greater China Innovation Insights Newsletter ! Every quarter, we handpick the most relevant innovation highlights from China , specifically tailored for German businesses. With so much happening in China's innovation landscape, it can be difficult to keep track of all the latest developments . Our newsletter is designed to cut through the noise and deliver the most important information and insights straight to your inbox. Whether you're looking to discover Sino-German innovation collaboration opportunities , monitor regulatory changes relevant to German businesses, or simply stay informed about the latest tech breakthroughs , our newsletter offers valuable benefits that can help you succeed in China's complex and exciting Innovation Ecosystem.  This is a shortened version; members receive the full version via email.


Preview - AHK Innovation Report 2024

Excerpt of the Automotive Industry

The German Chamber of Commerce in China, in collaboration with Bearing Point , has published a sneak preview from the upcoming AHK Innovation Report 2024 with focused on the automotive industry section . 336 member companies of the German Chamber participated in the survey between February 19 and March 13, 2024, including 64 from the automotive industry. 

Key findings:

  • More research and development in China : 55% of surveyed companies in the automotive industry conduct research "in China for China," compared to 34% across all industries (+21 pp).
  • Innovation through partnerships : 70% of surveyed companies in the automotive industry implement innovations by forming strategic partnerships with universities, suppliers, or customers in China.
  • Cooperation with local companies is particularly important:  66% of surveyed companies in the automotive industry consider cooperation opportunities with local partners a significant advantage of local innovation work. Overall, this figure is only 37%. (+29 pp)

The full report is scheduled to be unveiled in July 2024 in Beijing. 


China´s Innovation Landscape

Story 1 Lack of charging infrastructure for EVs slows EV sales projections in China's lower-tier cities.

China's adoption of electric vehicles just hit a bump in the road as a growing number of  Chinese consumers are voicing regrets  about their latest purchase of an electric car. According to the latest McKinsey report, 54% of respondents from Chinese lower-tier cities complained in 2023 about the  lack of charging infrastructure  and voiced their desire to buy a conventional car the next time. The  consumer's regret  also resulted in the first decrease in nearly a decade of  Chinese consumers saying their next car will be an electric vehicle , down 6% from 68% in 2022 to  62% in 2023.


Story 2 China adds 56 new Unicorns in 2023

" The last five years have been a golden era for entrepreneurship . We have seen the biggest explosion of new technologies coming to market that the world has ever known. Since 2019, the number of unicorns has tripled from 494 to 1453." said Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf at the release event in Guangzhou this April 2024. China added 56 new Unicorns in 2023 , securing second place with 340 total Unicorns , after the USA, which is leading with 703 Unicorns. Germany has cultivated 30 Unicorns by 2024 , taking 5 Places after the United Kingdom.


AHK Greater China is your #PartnerForInnovation. Our platform connects member companies with Chinese innovators to help them exchange ideas and grow their businesses. Our Innovation department is dedicated to providing a comprehensive knowledge base of the latest technology developments and trends in China's innovation landscape. For any inquiries, please contact us at hering.christoph@china.ahk.de.

Members can find the full version of 'Innovation Insights' in their inbox.

2023 Winter Issue

AHK Innovation Events

Re-Opening AHK Innovation Hub

On January 18, we celebrated the re-opening of the AHK Innovation Hub in after it was closed for renovation over the past two years. The Hub bridges small and medium-sized German companies and Shenzhen's booming startup scene and empowers German SMEs and startups to unlock their full potential in China. AHK Greater China offers a comprehensive range of services and support packages to help companies accelerate their growth, including innovation trips, technology scouting, exciting innovation events, acceleration programs, and office-in-office workstations.


China´s Innovation Landscape

Story 1 China Is Betting On Robots For The Next Breakthrough Technology

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China has recently issued guidelines to promote the development of humanoid robots. The guidelines set targets and timelines for the sector to become a competitive frontier in future industries, including establishing a reliable industrial supply chain, with products from the sector seamlessly integrated into the real economy by 2027. It also outlines measures for expanding the application of humanoid robots in specific areas like electronics, automotive, healthcare, services, agriculture, logistics, and specialized industrial environments. – Read more in our newsletter.

Sources: Jessi Wu, Technode, November 3, 2024


Story 2 China’s Contribution To The Rocket Race

China's commercial space industry has made significant strides in 2023, with two major breakthroughs in December. Following the first flight test in November, Interstellar Glory, also known as iSpace, successfully completed the second flight test of its Hyperbolic 2 reusable rocket in December. Another breakthrough for China in the same month was the launch of Landspace Technology's methane-powered Zhuque-2 rocket, which marked the successful sending of satellites into orbit for the first time. This was the Zhuque-2 carrier rocket's third flight mission, making it China's first commercial liquid carrier rocket to complete successive launches. – Read more in our newsletter.

Sources: Can Emir, Interesting Engineering, December 12, 2023 / Rizwan Choudhury, Interesting Engineering, December 10, 2023 / Andrew Jones, SpaceNews, November 2, 2023


Story 3 Insightful statistics: China Has Surpassed The EU In Terms Of R&D Investment

The 2023 EU Industrial Research and Development (R&D) Investment Scoreboard reveals that the number of Chinese companies included in the Scoreboard has more than tripled over the past decade and the sustained growth of China’s R&D has led to China surpassing the EU in terms of number of companies and total R&D invested for the first time this year. In 2022, Huawei, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), and CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited) secured positions among the top ten in R&D investment within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. – Read more in our newsletter.

Sources: The 2023 Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, European Comission, December 14, 2023 / Jessi Wu, Technode, December 21, 2023


Upcoming Innovation Events

  • Asiamold – Guangzhou International Mould & Die Exhibition
    Time: March 4-6, 2024
    Location: China Import and Export Fair Complex (Pazhou) Guangzhou
  • CIMP AutoEcosystems Expo 2024
    Time: March 7-10, 2024
    Location: Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center (Bao’an)


AHK Greater China is your #PartnerForInnovation. Our platform connects member companies with Chinese innovators to help them exchange ideas and grow their businesses. Our Innovation department is dedicated to providing a comprehensive knowledge base of the latest technology developments and trends in China's innovation landscape. For any inquiries, please contact us at hering.christoph@china.ahk.de.

Members can find the full version of 'Innovation Insights' in their inbox.

2023 Fall Issue

Accelerate Your China Innovation  

Open for Registration: The AHK Innovators Club

This new mentorship program developed and hosted by AHK Greater China aims to connect German innovators in China and help them overcome innovation barriers and challenges. The program offers an open network of innovation-sparring partners, pairing chamber members into Mentor and Mentee relationships to foster growth and development. Our vision is to provide a platform for seasoned experts, young professionals, and entrepreneurs to support one another and improve their innovation capabilities in China.   

Therefore, we seek enthusiastic mentees willing to engage with their mentors and experienced mentors eager to give back to the community and help fellow professionals grow and innovate. If you encounter innovation barriers in your business, this program allows you to connect with like-minded professionals and learn from each other. Our first pilot batch is starting in the beginning of 2024 and runs for 6 months.   

If you are interested in our AHK Innovators Club, please register here until December 31, 2023 and share it with others. If you have further questions about the program, please get in touch with Christoph Hering through hering.christoph@china.ahk.de.   


Innovator Spotlight

Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic challenges, manufacturers globally are making substantial investments in factory modernization. These changes underscore the need for agile production, resilient supply chains, and precise inventory management and open up to new market opportunities, particularly in healthcare/life sciences, automotive, and semiconductors. In an exclusive interview, Michelangelo Canzoneri, Global Head of Smart Manufacturing at Merck, shared his insights on the company's transition from traditional manufacturing to "SMARTfacturing." – Read more in our newsletter.  


China´s Innovation Landscape 

China is further stepping up its AI (governance) game

China continues developing a regulatory regime for AI governance, being cautious with algorithms that affect the public, such as generative AI. Also known as TC260, the new regulations introduce a detailed framework and new institutions established to support industrial applications of AI, like autonomous driving and smart logistics. The National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee has proposed rules for determining safety risks, including when to ban data sources from training models and metrics for testing accuracy.  

From Science Fiction to Reality: China is making steady progress in autonomous driving (and flying)  

Shenzhen aims to lead in intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs) by seeking to operate 100 driverless cabs and 100 driverless buses by the end of this year. Further, Chinese drone manufacturer Ehang achieved a significant milestone by receiving type certification for its fully autonomous EH-216-S AAV model, a two-seater autonomous drone, paving the way for air taxis. These examples showcase China's rapid progress in autonomous technology and air mobility.

Bertelsmann Commits  USD 700M to Chinese Start-ups and Tech Groups  

Bertelsmann Investments, a prominent German venture capital fund, plans to invest an additional USD 700 million in Chinese start-ups, driven by their CEO Carsten Coesfeld's confidence in China's economic growth and appreciation of Chinese entrepreneurial talent. Over the next three to five years, they aim to support Chinese tech groups and Chinese start-ups going global. Despite geopolitical tensions and market challenges, Bertelsmann Investments sees potential in the push from the Chinese government to stimulate economic activity and foreign direct investment, suggesting opportunities in the Chinese market. 


Past Innovation Events 

World of Tech 2023 Shenzhen 

Time: 2023/11/24-25 
Location: JEN Shenzhen Qianhai By Shangri-La, Nanshan District, Shenzhen 

WISE2023 The Sun always rises Beijing (in Chinese) 
Date: 2023/11/28-29 
Location: (北京朝阳)北辰东路8号院北京国际会议中心 

Google DevFest 2023 Shanghai 
Date: 2023/12/10 

2023 Global Automotive Electronics Summit Shanghai 
Date: 2023/12/12 

Digital Transformation Innovation Summit DTCN2023 Shanghai 
Date: 2023/12/15 


Members can find the full version of 'Innovation Insights' in their inbox.

2023 Summer Issue

China´s Innovation Events 

Experience Disruptive Innovation at the Xceleration Days 2023

The AHK Greater China Xceleration Days (X-Days) is an unrivaled Sino-German business event attracting up to 900 business leaders, executives and political representatives to connect, engage, network and advance their business cooperation in Germany and China! The X-Days will be held from November 8-11 in Shanghai, covering four major topics: Decarbonization, Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare and Disruptive Innovation. Join industry leaders, innovators, and unicorns at X-Days to explore the latest technology innovations and product demos, accelerating your China business.

If you're interested as a partner, or speaker at X-Days 2023 and sharing your latest breakthroughs, technology achievements and founder story, please apply to be a speaker by contacting our AHK X-Days events team at xdays@china.ahk.de

We are looking for the most innovative and impactful stories of the year, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have something valuable to share about innovation in China. 


Innovator Spotlight

With growing digitalization and cross border data transfers, the need for secure, compliant data spaces and exchanges in China is becoming increasingly relevant. We spoke to Markus Spiekermann from Fraunhofer about how German companies keep control over their data in China and beyond. More in our member exclusive newsletter (for more details, contact Christoph Hering below).   


China's Innovation Landscape 

Volkswagen Accelerates Innovation in China with €1 billion Push for Market Share in China

German car maker Volkswagen plans to invest and launch a €1 billion innovation center in China through its new company called 100%TechCo. The center will employ around 2,000 people and will play a significant role in the development of future Volkswagen models and technologies for China (where its market share declined to 16% last year). With the increasing popularity of electric vehicles in China, Volkswagen hopes to better appeal to local customers and improve its position in the country’s rapidly growing automotive market. Ralf Brandstätter, VW’s board member responsible for China, said 100%TechCo was an important step for VW’s In China, for China strategy. According to Volkswagen, the new company will reduce the time needed to develop new products and technologies for China by about 30%

Source: Patricia Nilson, Financial Times, April 18, 2023


Chinese Startups Revolutionizing the Funeral Industry: The Emergence of Digital Cemeteries and Virtual Memorials 

Digital technologies are transforming China's funeral industry, as companies like Fu Shou Yuan offer virtual memorials that can replicate the voices and looks of the deceased through artificial intelligence. The company has created a digital cemetery in Shanghai, featuring lush greenery, interactive elements and holographic projections. The cemetery provides a "healing garden" for families to visit virtually and pay tribute to their loved ones. In addition, Beijing has launched five digital cemeteries that use augmented reality, VR technology and electronic screens above each grave to screen images and voice recordings of the deceased, offering a more innovative approach to traditional cemeteries. 

Source: Hu Min, Shine, June 23, 2023 


Chinas Largest Face-swapping Fraud Highlights New Risks of AI-Driven Fraud 

China’s biggest deepfake scam to date should be a warning about the rise in fraud cases using AI tools such as face-swapping, video generation and voice mimicking. A Fuzhou tech firm’s legal representative was allegedly defrauded of RMB 4.3 million ($610,000), after receiving a video call from a “friend,” who turned out to be a fraudster using AI face-swapping technology. With the rapid growth of AI generated media and new fraud schemes, companies and individuals should be aware of new potential attacks. Initial excitement around the potential of ChatGPT and similar AI products in China has given way to concerns over how AI could be used to supercharge criminal activity

Source: Financial Network - Caijing, May 23, 2023


Members can find the full version of 'Innovation Insights' in their inbox.

2023 Spring Issue

AHK Innovation Events 

Successful kick-off of the Innovation Dialogue event series In Guangzhou

On March 3, the German Chamber of Commerce in China invited with over 150 guests and partners from the Greater Bay Area to discuss key insights from the first “Innovation Survey” published in 2022, and took a deep dive into practical innovation strategies. One of the highlights of the event was the panel discussion on successful “Open Innovation,” which included first-hand insights from Herrenknecht and HyperPark on how they created an innovative solution for China's limited parking spaces.


Innovator Spotlight

HyperPark solves China's car parking crisis through open innovation. 

The demand for parking spaces in China has increased significantly due to the rapid urbanization of Chinese cities over the last few decades. According to Statista, there were roughly 300 million cars registered in China in 2021, and this number is expected to continue to rise. This has led to traffic congestion, wasted time, and the consumption of valuable real estate in urban areas for parking. We spoke with the CEO of HyperPark at the last Innovation Dialogue event about their innovative solution to solve the problem of China´s parking crisis. 


China´s Innovation Landscape 

BYD tripled their sales in 2022. How did they do it?

Chinese car manufacturer BYD sold a total of 1.86 million electric cars last year. Not only have they tripled their sales compared to 2021, but they are now the number one manufacturer of electric vehicles worldwide. What role did innovation play in BYD’s rise? One of the key factors for BYD was to first develop key components in-house and second to adopt a dual strategy of all-electric and plug-in hybrids over a wide range of nearly 70 models. Like Tesla, BYD's strategy is to manufacture key components in-house and build a successfully integrated supply chain. The mix of in-house production of key components, resilient supply chains and customer-oriented innovation paid off for BYD and may be a best practice for other players in the EV space. 

The GBA and Beijing are ranked among the top 3 of the Global Innovation Index 2022 

Two areas in China were ranked as the second and third most innovative areas in the world - according to the Global Innovation Index 2022, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Tokyo–Yokohama continues to lead the top 100 science and technology clusters, closely followed by the two Chinese Innovation hubs in Shenzhen–Hong Kong–Guangzhou and Beijing. Seoul and San Jose–San Francisco rank fourth and fifth in 2022. 

Members can find the full version of 'Innovation Insights' in their inbox.