The Hessian Minister of Economics’ trips to China in 2012, 2013 and 2014 were aimed at intensifying mutual relations. They were also pivotal in establishing Frankfurt as a Renminbi hub.
Several steps have been taken for laying a foundation for deeper relations between China and Hesse. First, in 2012 an agreement for long-term cooperation between the two financial centres was signed in Beijing with the Mayor of Beijing’s financial district Xicheng. This district represents a large part of the financial industry and thus a promising partner for the state of Hesse and the financial centre Frankfurt.
Closer links were also established with Shanghai during the trip: the most important result was organising the annual Hesse-Shanghai Business Forum – alternating between Shanghai and Frankfurt each year.
The first international Hesse-Shanghai Business Forum was titled “Financing of investment and trade – cooperation between banks and enterprises”. It brought around 200 visitors together, many of them campaigning for Hesse. The Chinese participants were impressed by the excellent infrastructure, wide range of business-related services, the number of highly skilled workers and the excellent academic opportunities in the Main Metropolis.
In the forefront of the 2013 journey, were talks with representatives of the Chinese central bank. The Hessian delegation made clear its desire to expand Frankfurt as the central financial centre in the euro zone for trade, investment and financial transactions business in Renminbi (RMB).
The importance of China, by far the most important economic partner in the Asian market, is underlined by the Chinese Investment Authority’s establishment of an International Investment Centre in Frankfurt.
In 2014, Economic Minister Tarek Al-Wazir campaigned in China for investment in Hesse and for the financial centre Frankfurt. On the second international trip of his term, the Minister visited the Hessian partner province of Hunan, the capital Beijing and Shanghai. Al-Wazir was on the road in China with a delegation of nearly 70-members. China is Hesse’s main trading partner in the Asian market with a combined trading volume of about 10.17 billion Euros in 2014. In addition, the most active foreign investors in Hessen come from China. Hunan is one of the ten economically strongest provinces in China.
As a result of the delegation visits and the cooperation agreements, the financial centre Frankfurt has become a top address for companies who are interested in investment and cooperation in China, and a gateway to the euro zone Chinese investors and companies.