German angst over Chinese M&A

Kuka’s robotic arms are a familiar sight on assembly lines, like this Mercedes-Benz plant in Germany, but the majority Chinese-owned company wants to expand beyond the factory

 

Germany is a top target in China’s search for innovative engineering groups — but some see a threat

At this year’s Hannover Messe, the world’s biggest industrial fair, it was one of the stars of the show: an elegant, ultra-sensitive robot known as an Iiwa that can pour a beer and brew a cup of coffee.

Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, guests of honour on the Messe’s opening day, were intrigued. “Can it squeeze lemons?” the German chancellor asked.

The Iiwa — or intelligent industrial work assistant — is produced by Kuka, one of Germany’s most innovative engineering companies. But it will not be entirely German for long. Less than a month after the fair, a Chinese appliance-maker called Midea offered to buy Kuka for €4.5bn, in the largest ever Chinese takeover of a German company. Continue reading

Policy-Shaping Power in the Middle East (II)

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) – Today, Thursday, the first group of Bundeswehr soldiers will be leaving to go to war against the “Islamic State” (IS or Daesh). Participation in this war, which, according to government advisors will promote Germany to a “policy-shaping power in the Middle East,” will assure Berlin reinforced integration into the most important command headquarters of the western war coalition against the IS/Daesh. It will also provide the German government more influence in the international power struggle over the reorganization of the Middle East. The establishment of an international protectorate is one of the issues. The first negotiations between the government of President Bashar al Assad, the Syrian opposition, and insurgent militias are due to begin at the beginning of January. Currently, opponents of the Syrian government and insurgent militias are in Riyadh to prepare for these negotiations, with the German government’s approbation. Even though jihadist holy warriors are taking part in the Riyadh talks of the opposition, the northern Syrian Kurdish forces, which play a central role in the war against the IS/Daesh were among those not invited by the Saudi leadership.

Continue reading