Dr Matthias Niedenführ, who heads the research focus “Leadership and Innovation in Asia” at LEIZ, was a keynote speaker at an event “How to communicate credibly and authentically with and about China” on October 25th. The event was organized by Storymaker company (Tübingen/Berlin/Shanghai) and the China Network Baden-Württemberg (CNBW) at the Global Ethos Institute Tübingen (WEIT).
The journalist Felix Lee presented his book “China, my father and me”, which received the German Business Book Prize a few weeks ago. Here he describes the important role his father played in connecting Volkswagen from the 1970s to the 2000s, and how central the ability to bridge cultural differences was here. His keynote reminded local government and business players that it is not enough to formulate a China strategy and then say goodbye to financing the creation of the urgently needed China expertise. The USA is proactively investing here because you can only compete with China if you know your competitor well.
Dr. Matthias Niedenführ discussed the central skills and the attitude necessary for dialogue to work. He drew on his many years of experience in Beijing as a science manager and supervisor of academic and scientific exchange projects, in which cooperation with partners from China was only possible through mutual respect and trust. The one-sided moralising sermons that both Beijing and Berlin are currently practicing are preventing any constructive progress here. Particularly in science, general mistrust is inherent in any progress. Companies must define a “third culture” in joint projects based on both cultures, reflecting the cultural values of both sides.
The business woman Christine Zhang-Lippert, who grew up in China and the USA, worked in Shanghai for a long time and now works in the southern Germany region as a management consultant for German and Chinese companies, presented her ideas for defining common corporate values that contribute to the success of cooperation with Chinese companies.
After the three keynotes, the panelists will discuss with Prof. Ulrich Hemel (Director of WEIT) and Theresa Stewart (GF Storymaker Berlin) the specific challenges for German-Chinese cooperation in a significantly clouded environment characterized by geopolitical competition.