Dear Vice Mayor Zhou,
Dear Consul General Rothen
Dear Ms Shang,
Dear Mr LI Yaoxin,
Dear Ms Pohl,
I am delighted that so many people have gathered here this morning in Shanghai and that we are able to meet in person. There is no better way to network than to meet and talk face to face, even though - unlike technical processes - we should not always expect personal communication to work perfectly.
So, welcome to the “Hamburg-Shanghai Business-Forum”. I am looking forward to a morning of stimulating talks and ideas.
The smart networking of machines and work processes is radically changing manufacturing and business. Shanghai and Hamburg ports are excellent places to observe how flexible and effective these processes can be. It is no exaggeration to speak of the “smart port”, because the new, digitized communication structures are indeed smart and intelligent. And not only is the working world changing, our daily lives are being transformed, because the Internet of Things will accelerate many everyday tasks, and presumably make them easier too.
This journey is only just beginning, but we can already see where it is taking us. We are strongly focussing on developing digital innovations, and Germany is one of the market leaders in future technologies. But networking is not only about technical applications such as logistics or automation technology, it carries over into communication between companies and institutions. Therefore, in future we shall still be happy to travel between Hamburg and Shanghai - 8,500 kilometres as the crow flies - and look forward to more visitors from Shanghai.
Germany and China have named 2015 the Year of China-Germany Innovation Cooperation. During his July visit Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s economics minister, and his delegation, set the course for a number of projects. For example, the Federal Ministry of Economics and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology agreed on cooperation between enterprises in the field of smart manufacturing and networked production processes. I am very pleased that we are now meeting this week in Shanghai to discuss further development strategies for the industrial internet, and to continue the professional dialogue between “Made in China 2025” and “Industrie 4.0”
All concerned stand to profit from this dialogue. The digital transformation of industrial production will be the crucial factor that generates future prosperity. The impact of robotics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will not be limited to industry, but will permeate many aspects of our lives.
There is enormous potential here. A study named “The Internet of Things: mapping the value beyond the hype” by McKinsey, a consultancy, concludes that the Internet of Things will generate added value of up to 11 trillion dollars by 2025. Factories, cities and health care are, according to the study, some of the most important areas for applications.
But digital developments will not only be the deciding factor for future prosperity. They will also help us to tackle the other major challenges we shall be facing: The consequences of demographic change, the global imbalance of education opportunities, a growing shortage of energy resources and environmental problems.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I believe we have an interesting morning ahead. I thank everyone who has given their support to this forum, and in particular the organizers - the Shanghai Foreign Investment Board and the Hamburg Liason Office Shanghai. I hope we all find the talks and presentations stimulating.
Thank you very much.