Fair features Chinese innovation

A Volkswagen battery-powered car is assembled in Hannover, Germany, ahead of the city's major technology fair.

China will have "a great opportunity" to show it's a powerhouse of innovation at one of the world's key technology fairs, a leading organizer of the event said.

The Hannover Messe is the world's foremost technology fair and this year's event, opened by Premier Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, will feature China's biggest ever industrial presentation abroad.

"Chinese exhibitors will have a great opportunity to show the world how innovative they are," Wolfram von Fritsch, board chairman of the Deutsche Messe (Fair) and one of the key organizers of the Hannover event, said.

"And they are good business partners, no longer just a market where you sell products. They can show how they are market leaders and technological leaders in many aspects as well," Fritsch said.

Under the theme "Green Intelligence", the Messe, ending on Friday, will hold eight flagship fairs on industrial technology with an aim to help firms achieve higher output with lower energy costs.

China has been selected as a partner country, giving it a prestigious position at the fair.

"We are extremely pleased at having China as our partner. The timing could not be better," Fritsch added. "Our goal is to spotlight innovation and bring customers together."

The annual event, held since 1947, has become a leading showcase for global industrial and technological development. China was the partner country once before, in 1987.

The fair hopes to attract some 5,000 exhibitors from 65 countries and regions. Almost half of these exhibitors come from outside Germany, nearly 460 from China.

The Chinese partnership will highlight the importance of green technology as the country tries to change its growth model to one that is more sustainable.

China, according to the 12th Five-Year-Plan (2011-15) unveiled last year, will focus more on green energy and innovation, rather than labor-intensive sectors.

"The new Five-Year Plan from China fits in perfectly with the Hannover theme," Fritsch said.

There was "a long waiting list of countries" that wanted to be the Messe's partner country, "but in this case China was the perfect fit for us".

Michael Schumann, head of German-Chinese Joint Initiatives at the Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade, said this year's Messe would be "a unique chance" to see "what great opportunities can stem from trading with, and partnering, Chinese companies".

The association now has about 1,200 member companies to assist in economic development and foreign trade.

The association has an office in Shanghai and it organizes business delegations each year from all fields of industry. It also assists Chinese companies to find partners when the conduct business, or invest, in Germany.

Amid the debt crisis in Europe, Schumann said companies are "lacking the financial and human resources to build large enterprises based on their intellectual property".

"Here I see a unique chance for the German and Chinese economy to dovetail in the future," he said.

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