Green Heart of Austria Goes to China

By Austrian Independent special correspondent John Morris

companies from Styria,
the Green Heart of Austria, travelled on a trade mission to China the last two
weeks visiting Hong Zhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing to stimulate the
region’s economy following the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Zentral Bank
general manager for China, Andreas Werner, emphasized the
opportunities awaiting Austrian businesses in China – pointing out that currently
China enjoys 8% economic growth and predictions for China of 8.7% economic
growth for 2010 are being forecast by the World Bank. This provides a first class
opportunity for Austrian companies in the Chinese market. The Raiffeisen Bank is
itself a major Austrian success story in China gaining the status of first and
only Austrian bank to be granted an operating license in the People’s Republic of

Led by Dr Christian
, Minister for Economy, Innovation and Finance of the Styrian
Provincial Government, the delegation of around 40 Styrian companies were
positioning themselves for a piece of the economic pie. The high powered
industrialists were distinguished guests at the official opening of the Energy
and Environment Museum at the Industry Park at Hangzhou, China on 1st
November 2009.

The Industry Park boasts a 100% solar powered energy source with
smart buildings and energy conservation the main focus. In a speech, Buchmann
presenting the Styrian companies, referred to the 3 “I”s of Styria, ”Industry,
Innovation, and Inspiration”.  The Styrians were warmly welcomed by the Chinese
authorities seeking to improve their technological competence. 

Organizing the
Trade Mission in Styria was ICS
(Internationalization Centre of Styria)
, which is a joint venture between
the Austrian Economic Chamber
(WKÖ), Styrian Government and private industry. CEO of ICS Dr Karl Heinz
Dernoscheg presented the strengths of Styria to an attentive Chinese audience,
“Styria is a highly industrialized, innovative and modern province in Austria
offering 5 Universities, international research institutes and is the Austrian
province with the highest technological competence.

“We have a traditional
automotive industrial base supplying the car industry worldwide and we produce
famous brands such as BMW, Aston Martin and VW in Graz. Styria leads with environmental
technology and machine construction and provides leading edge pharmaceutical
technology helping to raise health care provision.

“As a province with much
agricultural land, wood from our forests plays an exciting role. Paper, wooden
construction materials and innovative energy supplies from timber harvested in
Styria are just some of the products. We have moved on from the traditional iron
ore mines at Erzberg and now supply the aircraft and rocket industries with much
needed high tech won from years of experience. Styria is also highly creative
and the aesthetic design is shining through with excellent industrial design and
architecture on offer. We also pride ourselves that we are designing “Green
Buildings” and “Smart Buildings” with environmentally friendly integrated
systems.” These qualities are exactly what the Chinese need explained
representatives of the Chinese government in Hong Zhou. This message was
repeated in Shanghai, Tianjin and Beijing.”

Graz company
is already leading the Styrian pack in China. AVL has a strong connection in
Shanghai as its founder Dr Hans List formed the company back in 1948 and taught
in Shanghai as a university professor. AVL produces engines and machines and the
Styrian company’s name is as famous as Arnold Schwarzenegger behind the scenes
in the car industry around the World. Indeed it’s the World’s number one
producer of testing machines for power trains
and is already providing China with much needed high tech machines and wishes to
place its new products on the Chinese market.

the automotive companies in Styria on the China mission was the Automotive Cluster Region
, headed by the well informed Dr Karl Pansy. “Styria is playing a
leading role with automotive solutions and we are keen to establish links
assisting the Chinese with the emergence of green mobility solutions and our
automotive cluster offers a tremendous range of innovative

The Chinese
are excited about the Styrian connection as they expressed distinct needs for
solutions for their future transport needs and desire to collaborate with the
Styrian companies such as eXess Engineering
which offers an ingenious aluminium mesh which is implanted in fuel tanks which
prevents explosions on impact. Exess engineering has already caught the eye of
the US military and Chinese interest has been awakened. Exess’s innovative ideas
will save lives in combat situations as well as preventing catastrophes with
exploding fuel tanks in automobile accidents.  In the retail sector, Austrian
company SPAR also recorded success as a result
of the Styrian mission to China. CEO Erwin Schmuck reported a lucrative
collaboration contract with the Chinese during the Beijing part of the mission.
SPAR offers great know-how in the food retail business which is just what China
needs as it transforms to a consumer society.

Summing up the successful trade mission, Dr
Buchmann praised the two Austrian Trade Commissioners in China, Raymund
Gradt in Shanghai and Dr. Oskar Andesner in Beijing and their teams for
their élan and facilitation of the successful Styrian trade mission. He
also praised ICS support staff, Daniela Guss and Karin Hoelbling who
worked tirelessly in the background for ICS facilitating the Styrian
mission and positioning the companies optimally in China. The Chinese
are embracing the quality offered by the Green Heart of Austria and its
looking encouraging for the follow up to the Styrian trade mission to
China. Its now up to the Styrian companies to continue negotiations and
reach contracts with the Chinese who are very open and willing to learn.

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