Taicang sets standard for German investment

By Guo Xiaohong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 24, 2013
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A total of 180 German-invested enterprises have settled in Taicang, a waterside city in east China's Jiangsu Province, earning the city the name of "Germany's Swabia in China." Swabia, in southwestern Germany, is a hub clustered with medium and small enterprises.

Manfred H. Krost (L), a German expert in roller bearing, now owns a consulting company in Taicang. [Guo Xiaohong/China.org.cn]

Situated at the center of the Yangtze River Delta, the small city is ranked among Forbes magazine's top 50 commercial cities on the mainland, with a population of 470,000 and an area of 809 square kilometers.

Though not big, Taicang's infrastructure is sound and its cityscape is pleasant. Its proximity to Shanghai, the financial and transport hub in the Yangtze River Delta, also lures foreign investors.

"Foreigners like me love the small, clean, and beautiful city as it looks like our German towns and the local government is very helpful in terms of our life and work here," Manfred H. Krost told the 26 European parties' leaders during their visit to the city yesterday on the sidelines of the 4th China-EU High-Level Political Parties Forum held in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Krost used to be a German expert in roller bearing in Taicang and now owns a consulting company there.

Near Taicang is a good Sino-German kindergarten and older foreign children can attend the international schools in nearby Shanghai. Krost also commented that older students could even apply to China's good universities in China, adding that foreign investors in Taicang can enjoy a trouble-free family life.

Krost and his business consulting company work extensively with executives of family-owned and emerging companies in Germany that are interested in investing in China. Thanks to his "matchmaking" endeavors, 15 German enterprises have set up companies here in the past three years. Krost has been awarded the titles of Taicang's honorary citizen and ambassador of inviting investment in Taicang.

More than 500 U.S. and European enterprises have now established companies or factories in Taicang, with German firms accounting for more than one- third of this number with a total investment of US$1.5 billion. These firms are mainly in the manufacturing of highly engineered machinery, auto components and construction materials, making Taicang the most German- intensive investment destination in Jiangsu.

Taicang set up its German Investment Industrial Park in 2006 and is the only city in China to be granted the name of "China-German enterprises cooperation base" by both the Chinese and German governments. The ties between Taicang and German go beyond the economic field, however. Taicang is the only county-level city included in the "Germany-China tour."

As of the end of 2011, Germany had established more than 7,000 enterprises in China with an accumulative investment of US$18.5 billion. Germany is China's largest source of technology in Europe, with a total value of more than US$50 billion.

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