I am happy to welcome you all here in Hamburg. And I am even more pleased that you are not going to suddenly disappear like a Snapchat image, but will hopefully remain at anchor in Hamburg for a long time to come.
At anchor – we like to use maritime metaphors in Hamburg, since it is the port that has shaped our identity for many centuries. When they think of Hamburg, a lot of people still think in terms of the Hanseatic League, the mediaeval league of cities which achieved enormous wealth and prosperity thanks to its cosmopolitan outlook and its willingness to cooperate on broad scale. Today, Hamburg is still guided by the same values, but the world has become a very different place, of course, and so has the port, which no longer belongs to only shipping.
Europe’s largest urban development project, the “Hafencity” has grown and developed adjacent to the historical warehouse district. A few hundred metres up the river from here, the “Elbphilharmonie” was built over the old quayside warehouse “Kaispeicher A”, formerly used to store coffee and cocoa. And where ships are still being loaded and unloaded, we are now testing digital applications for tomorrow’s logistics and mobility market. The entire nation is able to benefit from our “smart port” because the part where the city’s tradition manifests itself most clearly is that place of Hamburg where we focus most strongly on the future.
Hamburg realised at an early stage what opportunities digitisation had to offer and started to develop a strategy for the Digital City in good time. We have already appointed a CDO (Chief Digital Officer) and are supporting advances in innovative trends with our digital technology and media initiative “nexMedia.Hamburg”. Hamburg is investing in new university professorships in the IT field, promoting digitisation in schools and the extension of broadband services. The European Union has nominated the port of Hamburg as a test area for the new 5G mobile telecommunications standard along with Venice, the only other European city to be nominated.
Hamburg has a strong economy and offers its residents a particularly high quality of life: thanks to its waterfront location, its many parks, free nursery facilities and good schools, an excellent cultural programme and attractive residential areas. As opposed to a number of other beautiful cities and towns, here in Hamburg we are introducing measures to ensure that new housing is being built all over the city at an affordable price. This is a crucial factor in deciding where to settle down, especially for young people and families.
Hamburg is also a model city for Germany’s “mobility of the future”. We are investing in charging stations, e-mobility and public transportation. All these factors attract professionals with the skills that are needed. In Hamburg, companies will find highly-qualified staff, and, as we all know, the effect of this on value creation within companies has multiplied significantly.
Germany’s most creative advertising agencies were founded in Hamburg. Multinational corporations such as Beiersdorf, Otto, NXP, Airbus and Unilever have their headquarters or their German main office here, and major media companies such as Spiegel, Zeit, Gruner+Jahr, Bauer and Axel Springer have all contributed to making Hamburg an internationally renowned media location.
Hamburg has the reputation of being Germany’s innovation capital. We are a metropolis of science in the North. We have interwoven research and development so tightly that scientific findings can be passed on easily and in an uncomplicated manner to application-oriented enterprises.
I am fully convinced that Snapchat will be a great success in Hamburg and will feel at home here. You will definitely be in good company. Xing, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Hootsuite and many other companies have chosen to settle in Hamburg. We are delighted that you have done so, too.
With Snapchat, you have developed a technical solution that convinces right down the line because it is easy to use and functions perfectly. But what is equally important is that Snapchat takes basic human needs seriously. These have hardly changed over the years, but the number of possible ways to meet these needs has exploded.
Snapchat is particularly successful in harmonising different needs smartly: Snapchat allows friends or colleagues to partake in the user’s daily life creatively, even from far away places, and the options offered to the user are amazingly simple. Snapchat is extremely successful at doing this, as can be seen from its last quarter figures for 2017.
We are certain that Snapchat will achieve much more, working from Hamburg. In our city, you will find an environment which encourages and nourishes innovation-driven growth. We are happy that you, your competence and your solutions will enrich Hamburg’s position as a digital city and will strengthen our good relationships with California even further.
I wish you all a wonderful start-off and many years of success in our beautiful Hanseatic city. All the best to Snapchat’s staff here in Hamburg.