Wake-up call for Germany as Chinese affair sours

Press quote (The Sunday Times)
28 March 2021

According to Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform, the row coincides with recent signs of a cooling of European attitudes towards China. “Even a year ago, it would have been hard to imagine the EU imposing sanctions on China,” he said.

...Some in German industry, too, are beginning to question their dependence on China. Bond believes the wake-up call was provided by the hostile Chinese takeover in 2016 of the German robot-maker Kuka.

“The Germans had got used to the idea that they provided machine tools of the kind that the Chinese couldn’t make for themselves,” he said. “But when China bought Kuka, the Germans suddenly faced the prospect that they may not actually be an indispensable partner for China, but actually just a kind of way station in China’s acquisition of skills and technology.”