Austria happy about “pretty and strong” market in China


“CHINAPLAS is one of the most important exhibitions which we can showcase our plastics technology,” said Dietmar Schwank, Commercial Affairs Consul for Austrian Consulate General Guangzhou.

The Austrian plastics industry is strong in, among others, extrusion, injection and recycling, according to Schwank. “Some of our companies are also showing high tech surface treatment technology.”

Most of the Austrian companies in the plastics industry are heavily engaged in export, with some of them shipping up to 98% of their annual turnover. Therefore it is influenced substantially by the external economic environment.

“The Chinese market is pretty stable and strong for us. It is picking up again and there is more and more demand for high quality machinery, which favors the Austrian companies,” he said. “The trends we see in the industry are pretty positive.”</p>  <p>With regard to China, Schwank observed that the topic of resource and energy efficiency and automation is gaining in importance.

“When it comes to end consumers, such as automotive, electronics industry, household goods, medical, these industries are quite strong and have an interests to increase its quality and efficiency in China. This also happens in the field of plastic materials, for the construction sector for example,” he said.

Austria is one of the leading countries in terms of automation and digitalization. The industrial and research landscapes in this area are very similar to Germany where the Industry 4.0 concept comes from, according to Schwank.

“This is an area China focused on as they realize there is a need to promote automation and robotization in China. We can see that very clearly, and our companies are making good business out of this development because we can work with Chinese customers, not only by supplying automation technology to China but also helping them to develop the know-how.”

Obviously China is everybody’s favorite, and there are always more people trying to enter the market. The quality level of local suppliers is rising, too. But Schwank believed the Chinese market is big enough to keep everyone happy.

In 2016, the total export volume of Austria to China was €3.3 billion (+0.3%) and sino-China trading value amounted to €11.3 billion. Both export and imports are expected to reach a new record this year, according to him.

The Central Government’s Made in China 2025 strategy showed its ambition to develop a number of core technologies on its own. It offers as much opportunities as challenges to the Austrian companies.

“We certainly can see that an interest in China to do more high tech thing locally provides new opportunities on one hand, but it also provides threats or challenges to Austrian companies who are not here yet or maybe don’t know this market very well. That’s why, if they are not here yet, we invite them to explore this possibility.”

“One of our tasks in the Austrian Consulate General Commercial Section is to coax newcomers to the Chinese market, especially small to medium sized enterprises (SME),” Schwank noted.

For any Austrian companies, he said the greatest challenge in China is the lack of information. “The market is very large in many ways, and sometimes not so easy to understand. It takes a while for a company to find the right local partners to identify locations where to operate also and to understand how the market works.”

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