Angela Merkel Visits Hong Kong

Just kidding. Why would she do that?

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was welcomed with military honors in China on Friday with a business delegation in tow, hoping to secure an economic agreement.

China is Germany’s largest import market and, after the USA and France, and also its most important export market. In 2018 the two countries traded goods worth almost €200 billion ($221 billion).

Hong Kong protesters make plea to Chancellor Merkel.

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture” Part II

As reported earlier, Germans themselves will be the first to admit that, when it comes to entrepreneurship, they have a “crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure,” but it is what it is and they are what they are.

Cars

There’s even a saying/joke here that goes “anything in Germany that is not expressly permitted is forbidden.” Take electric cars, for example. Their production may not be expressly forbidden but the German automobile industry is doing its damnedest to pretend like they don’t exist. One could say this has more to do with “never touch a running system” (this industry still makes piles of money) but it really gets down to being crotchety again. They’re missing the boat and they know it.

Concern is rising in Europe’s automobile heartland about the economic impact of the industry’s move to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered cars.

Officials and executives in Germany fear the country’s big car companies and rich ecosystem of suppliers and service providers are insufficiently prepared for the transition, and that their leadership may not be assured in an electric-car world, threatening jobs, tax revenue and even growth.

Assembling electric cars isn’t as complex or labor intensive as making traditional vehicles and relies partly on imported technology. At the same time, China has made rapid forays in electrification and is shaping up as a potentially formidable competitor in the field.

The trepidation is particularly acute in the city of Stuttgart, hub to one of the country’s biggest automotive clusters at the heart of the nation’s dynamic south. It comes as Europe’s largest economy is showing signs of weakness amid a chill in global trade.

“The greatest catastrophe would be if the industry fell asleep at the wheel. It is crucial for jobs that companies like Daimler make a massive push into this technology and build locally.”

Other Folks Are Making Money With Greta?

Or on her? Off her? Greta HERSELF? How, how… How could anybody be surprised by this?

Greta

They used to call them hipsters. Now they call them hypsters. This stuff is hilarious.

In the meantime Greta Thunberg has the schedule of a supermodel: Press conferences, photo shootings, interviews, speeches in parliaments and appearances at demonstrations alternate at an ever faster rate… Greta Thunberg hat mittlerweile den Terminplan eines Supermodels und Spitzenpolitikers; Pressekonferenzen, Foto-Shootings, Interviews, Parlamentsreden und Demonstrationsauftritte wechseln sich immer hektischer ab.

The sailing yacht passage is also getting harsh criticism because it is one of the most expensive racing yachts in the world, its “Team Malizia” stems from the tax haven of Monaco, the ship belongs to an ominous real estate millionaire from Stuttgart and Greta is being unnecessarily exposed to storm hazards in the Atlantic… Auch die Segeljachtfahrt wird vielfach kritisch kommentiert, weil es sich um eine der teuersten Rennjachten der Welt handelt, weil ihr “Team Malizia” aus Monaco stammt und also aus einem Steuerparadies, weil das Schiff einem ominösen Stuttgarter Immobilienmillionär gehört, weil man Greta unnötig in atlantische Sturmgefahren begibt.

And this is why the public is beginning to doubt the motives of Greta’s backers. Is she possibly the coldly staged product of cleaver marketing strategists who only want to make a profit from the media hype? So wachsen im Publikum die Zweifel über die Motive von Gretas Hintermännern. Ist sie womöglich ein kalt inszeniertes Produkt cleverer Marketingstrategen, die Profit aus dem medialen Hype schlagen wollen?

The “We don’t have time” cooperation is now under suspicion. The company was founded by the successful Swedish public relations manager and stock market specialist Ingmar Rentzhog in 2017. His self-assured goal: To establish the “worldwide largest social network for climate activism” and make as much money in the process as possible. Greta Thunberg was systematically targeted as the figurehead… Die Aktiensgesellschaft “We don’t have time” steht im Zwielicht. Das Unternehmen wurde von einem der erfolgreichsten PR-Manager und Börsenspezialisten Schwedens, Ingmar Rentzhog, 2017 gegründet. Sein selbstbewusstes Ziel: Das “weltweit größte soziale Netzwerk für Klimaaktion” zu schaffen und damit möglichst viel Geld zu verdienen. Als Galionsfigur wird Greta Thunberg dafür gezielt aufgebaut.

There is not conflict of interest between climate protection and making money.
Kein Interessenkonflikt zwischen Klimaschutz und Geldmachen.

Stay tuned or something.

“Crotchety, Over-Critical Culture”

Comparing Germany’s entrepreneurial business world to Silicon Valley’s? This post will be even shorter than usual.

Silicon

One reason why California continues to draw talent out of Germany is the contrast between Germany’s crotchety, over-critical culture, with its fear and condemnation of failure.

This compares unfavorably with California’s inspiring can-do optimism and fail early, fail often, keep trying until you succeed” mantra. Additional reasons are the much higher salaries paid to engineers and programmer in California, the sunnier, warmer weather and California’s huge head start in building a startup-friendly business ecosystem.

“We need to build critical mass in one city, and that city is Berlin. It’s built a global reputation as a cool, hip, affordable city with a lively startup scene. We should double down on that.”

 

German Of The Day: Freier Fall

That means freefall.

Freefall

German manufacturing reports industry ‘in freefall’ – Key survey points to weakest sentiment in nine years.

The Ifo Institute’s manufacturing business climate index slumped to minus 4.3 in July from positive 1.3 the previous month. The reading was the lowest in more than nine years and echoes a separate survey released on Wednesday that pointed to mounting troubles in Europe’s powerhouse economy.

“No improvement is expected in the short term, as businesses are looking ahead to the next six months with more pessimism.”

We’re Not Worthy!

Actually, we’re too worthy – and that’s the problem.

Rich

If they think their ranking on rich lists is too low, American tycoons fume. German ones kick up a fuss when theirs looks suspiciously high, explains Heinz Dürr. When a magazine called him a billionaire a few years ago, Mr Dürr rang the editor to remonstrate. The reporters had double-counted his ownership of Homag, a maker of wood-processing machines that Dürr, his family’s mechanical-engineering firm, bought in 2014. Plutocrats have reached the top of politics in America and Italy, while in Asia the super-rich often display their wealth in ostentatious style. Germany’s magnates love to shun the limelight.

Which reminds me of German oddities 302 and 25.

German 302. Germans have a big Neid (envy) problem. They are perfectly aware of this and often complain that they live in a Neidgesellschaft (envy society) but keep turning green with envy all the same. One comedian claims that Germany is the only country in the world where the need for envy is stronger than the sex drive.

German Oddity 25. When Americans refer to something as being “typically American” they generally mean this in a positive way. When Germans refer to something as being “typically German” they generally mean this in a negative way.

German Of The Day: Erfolglos

And while we’re at it, fassungslos und ahnungslos.

Fassungslos

That means unsuccessful, stunned and clueless, respectively. And all three apply to Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas, who just got a taste of the real world in Tehran during his pitiful attempt to salvage what is left of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran – for world peace, of course (and for German corporate interests in the region, coincidentally).

The German foreign minister appeared somehow surprised to discover that the mullahs are upset with Europe as “so far, we have not seen practical and tangible steps from the Europeans to guarantee Iran’s interests.” This is because, well, they can’t. If you aim at being weak long and hard  enough then weak you shall be. But there’s a bright side to this, I guess. German diplomacy would not be German diplomacy without the foreign ministers fervent hope that “ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue.” Good luck with that, Heiko.

By the way, anybody in Germany who repeats the word “dialogue” long and hard enough can become German foreign minister, too.

Außenminister Maas in Iran – Zwischen erfolglos und fassungslos.

Germany To Lead From Behind Again

This time from far behind. You know, like from way, way, way far behind? But still.

Iran

Germany looks to ‘lead’ US-Iran talks– in what is clearly a noble effort to bring peace to the region and profits to the German corporations still sexually aroused about doing business with Iran despite the collapse of the 2015 nuclear agreement – and, of course, to take an indirect swipe at Israel in the process while they’re at it already.

“The latest escalation requires us as European neighbors to intervene in favor of de-escalation and peaceful coexistence,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters during an unannounced stop to Iraq. “We cannot just seek dialogue, we must lead it, precisely where the differences seem insurmountable and long-simmering conflicts run deep.”

“Das ist eine Reise in die Krise.”

Germany Finally Prepared To Help Iraq

Out of the goodness of its heart. With a giant electricity agreement worth billions.

Iraq

The Germans may not have been prepared to help free the country from Saddam Hussein militarily but they have finally taken a great step forward and are now prepared to free it from lots and lots of money makes the world go around.

Iraq and German giant Siemens have signed a framework electricity agreement potentially worth billions of dollars. The Iraqi premier was in Berlin to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Our claim is that we are a reliable and affordable power supplier to the people of Iraq and want to help them rebuild their country.”

German Of The Day: Naivität

That means naivete, as in being gullible or simple-minded.

China

Here’s an example: Industry Leaders Accuse Europe of Naivete with Respect to China – China’s aggressive approach in extending its economic power is causing concern among European companies. They demand a tougher approach from Brussels – and a convincing vision.

Good luck with that, European industry leaders. “Europe” doesn’t have time to deal with little issues like that at the moment, nor will it have any time in the near future. It is too occupied with self-inflicted problems like uncontrolled migration and Brexit (and the ensuing financial crisis) and placing the next batch of non-elected and unaccountable EU eurocrats in power. But once all that is taken care of, who knows? That little Chinese issue might just get tackled, too.

Die aggressive Vorgehensweise Chinas bei der Ausdehnung seiner Wirtschaftsmacht bereitet europäischen Unternehmern Sorgen. Sie fordern eine härtere Gangart von Brüssel – und eine überzeugende Vision.