Warsaw 11th & 12th June 2019

It was a great pleasure to be in Warsaw at the CEE Co-Building the Belt & Road (https://poland-today.pl/event/poland-cee-co-building-the-belt-road/) Project on 11th and 12th June 2019 upon invitation as a panellist and speaker by Poland Today, Frank Schuholz and Wolfgang Lehmacher. Thank you for the honor to be part of this great event. My key takeaways to share with you:

  • The BRI project by China has so many interesting interconnections and interlinks with all stakeholders, different industries and different technologies that it provides a platform for everybody to take part and play a constructive role. Just imagine that the total commitment by the Chinese government is around 1.000 bn US$. That is round about twice the GDP of the Polish economy.
  • As a hybrid traveller between East and West (Western Europe and Asia) we “forgot” how much exciting things are happening next to Germany´s doorstep in Eastern Europe. Despite all disagreement within the EU on issues such as immigration our friends in Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and elsewhere have done a tremendous job in building a thriving and healthy economy.
  • The interest of China to do more business and trade with Europe along the Silk Road is genuine. In the words of today´s Tech Language I believe the China government and their State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) as the execution vehicles provide the infrastructure platform to conduct more and easier business in future (think transaction costs!).  While the large infrastructure projects are (mostly profitable) projects by itself at the end of the day, they are enablers for everybody who is and will conduct business in and with China.
  • The way China is looking at the world is – of course – China and Asian centric. The history of China in ASEAN (with a strong Chines business community there) can be a good model to understand how it wants to manage the Eastern European engagements too. Here we can learn from experiences in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore.
  • The US-China trade conflict will go away – globalisation is irreversible and the call for fair play is reasonable and justified as well. But do understand that it is important to safe face for China and do not bully too much.
  • Every conference has a Rockstar. Here it was Peter Vesterbacka from Finland. He gave a lively talk on how he went from Angry Bird and Rovio to become the visionary strategist for SLUSH and now for the FINESTBAY (www.finestbayarea.online) Project. A tunnel connection between Helsinki and Tallinn. How this project underwent a transformation from a crazy idea over dinner towards an icon of what can be done in Europe with private engagement was eye opening. And you have guessed it too…Chinese money helps to finance the project.
  • Very cool also to listen to a fascinating keynote address of Prof. Grzegorz W. Kolodko on Poland´s 30 years of success. When I was a student in 1987-1991 we had many exchange programs between Duisburg and Warsaw and we were first hand witnesses of the big bang which took place there with the fall of the iron curtain and the end of the cold war. Congratulation to Poland´s achievements.
  • Warsaw presented itself from the most beautiful side. Perfect weather and extremely friendly people with good food and drinks. Only hazzle was to get to Warsaw by train from Berlin…time for a Chinese High-Speed Train here…?

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