Chinese market enjoys advantages in its size, vitality for innovation

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Photo shows glass products developed by Schott displayed at the third China International Import Expo. (Photo provided by Schott.)
Photo shows glass products developed by Schott displayed at the third China International Import Expo. (Photo provided by Schott.)

By Yang Xun

The year 2022 was the International Year of Glass, and Albert Chen, managing director of Schott in China, one of the leading specialty glass companies in the world from Germany, shared with People’s Daily a story about glass.

Over the past 30 years, the German manufacturer has always been committed to improving its manufacturing and processing technologies of ultra-thin glass. However, it lacked an opportunity to massively launch its products in the market, till it learned from negotiations with its Chinese partners that many Chinese tech firms were seeking solutions for producing curved screens.

“The success of our technologies and products came from not only the demand of Chinese tech firms for new technologies but also the strong industrial chain of the Chinese electronics industry and its vital consumption market,” Chen said.

He noted that the potential of the Chinese market is obvious to all, and expanding investment in China is an important strategy adopted by many multinational companies, including Schott.

Schott started its business in China in 2002. So far, its total sales volume in the country has hit 2.55 billion yuan ($381 million).

Chen told People’s Daily that Schott has enjoyed prosperous development in China over the past two decades, and with the general expectation of the Chinese economy picking up in 2023, it is believed that the investment environment for foreign companies in the country will keep being optimized.

Over the recent years, Schott has continuously expanded its investment in China, introducing high-end production lines and establishing an Asia-Pacific R&D center.

Many new outcomes were delivered in China by the German manufacturer, including mobile phone screens made of curved ultra-thin glass, a transistor outline header for 5G fronthaul, and an encapsulation design for the light engines of augmented reality glasses.

Besides, the company has also inked agreements about optical communication with Chinese corporations at the China International Import Expo for three consecutive years, contributing its part to the development of the Chinese 5G market.

“China is Schott’s fastest-growing consumption market. The Chinese market enjoys advantages in its size and also in its vitality for innovation,” Chen said.

In 2021, Schott set up an Asia-Pacific R&D center in Suzhou, east China’s Jiangsu province, to offer frontier technical support for its ultra-thin glass, 5G communication, virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as energy storage businesses.

So far, the company has invested 20 million yuan in the construction of an application center in China. It plans to invest 8 million to 10 million yuan each year to promote the development of the center.

“We’ll keep contributing to the innovation and R&D of Chinese brands, to make full use of our technical advantages and benefit the country through close cooperation on the application of technologies,” Chen noted.

According to him, China has always been the fastest-growing market of Schott in the past five years. He told People’s Daily that China’s business environment is conducive to the development of innovative enterprises. The Chinese government has constantly widened access for foreign capital, handed down the power to approve administrative items, and streamlined administrative approvals, which relieves the burden of enterprises and creates a market featuring efficiency, equity, convenience, and freedom for foreign enterprises.

“As a high-tech firm, Schott has benefited from the reduced enterprise income tax rate of 15 percent and the policy on granting additional tax deductions for R&D costs. It is also facilitated by the streamlined customs procedures and optimized customs approvals,” Chen told People’s Daily.

China is the world’s second largest economy, largest trading country in goods, and the top destination of foreign investment. Its economic development draws global attention.

Chen said that as China takes solid steps towards high-quality economic development, foreign enterprises still enjoy huge development potential in the country.

“China, as a source of stable growth for global economy, will make more contributions to building an open world economy and a better future for mankind in the post-pandemic era,” Chen said.

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