That’s why part of the 2018 festivities to celebrate our 350th anniversary took place in Shanghai. During the celebration, Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, spoke to 400 guests from politics, business and industry: “We look ahead to the future with curiosity – and it is precisely this future of science and technology that will be shaped to a large extent right here in China.”
Similar ideas were voiced by Allan Gabor: “When we look at China now, we see so much more than just a huge sales market; the country is becoming a key factor in shaping global trends and influencing our global strategy.”
Demand for technologies and expertise
China needs technologies and know-how for its transformation. Immense investments are earmarked for this, and we hope to benefit from these investments in our businesses.
The realization of this aim requires a host of measures, in Allan Gabor’s opinion. Among them are smart collaborations with key stakeholders in the country as well as re-thinking some of the company’s structures to be able to optimize local future growth. Other measures include increasing local production efforts and fostering talent development in China more efficiently. Finally, networking more closely with the country’s innovation ecosystem and rigorously digitalizing products, services and processes.
One of the most important steps along the way is to ensure that partnerships and networks become more effective. Gabor adds that this endeavor is particularly challenging because of “the special complexity of stakeholder management in China,” saying: “We’re looking at other, predominantly local companies and also initiating diverse collaborations with a variety of public-sector players.”
New innovation centers
We are also greatly intensifying our R & D in China. Research centers and laboratories have existed in Shanghai, Suzhou and Beijing for some time, and a new OLED technology center was opened in Shanghai in 2018. In Guangzhou, an agreement was signed with the local authorities to build an Innovation Hub. Located at the heart of Guangzhou International Biotech Island, this hub will serve as a place of knowledge exchange for experts, partners and customers in all three business sectors, enabling them to develop and enhance innovative technologies for strategic markets in the Pearl River Delta and beyond.
Stefan Oschmann announced the launch of innovation hubs in China during his visit to the country in February 2018. To achieve this goal, a team of representatives from science and industry is being set up in Shanghai to form our China Innovation team. The team members have extensive knowledge in the areas of healthcare, chemistry and digital technologies and are led by Sophie Sun, Head of our China Innovation Hub. Together, they will explore the opportunities in the Chinese innovation ecosystem. “A very lively innovation ecosystem is developing in China, allowing the country to become an industry leader for technological innovation,” says Sun. “The Chinese government promotes innovation and industry developments through a number of programs and initiatives that are also highly relevant to our areas of business and expertise. We therefore want to collaborate closely with startups, academic institutions, industry players and local governments so that we can jointly develop new technologies and solutions for China and for the world.”
We support further innovations with our Accelerator program, which is already established at the company’s headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany and was recently launched in China as well. Selected startups can work for three months on collaboration projects with our experts at the Innovation Hub in China. In addition, they have the opportunity to continue their projects at the Innovation Center in Darmstadt to explore the European market. They are thus able to make an important contribution on China’s path to becoming a global innovation leader. This development enables China to potentially contribute more innovative solutions supported by us.