China has an ambitious plan to become a global leader in innovation and technology, and that could potentially bode very well for German multinational company Merck KGaA.
The company is one of the leading names in science and technology and does business across three sectors: health care, life science and performance materials.
The latter two business units help to make Chinese companies more competitive, Merck KGaA Chairman and CEO Stefan Oschmann told CNBC on Thursday on the sidelines of the Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, China.
“For instance, we are working with Chinese start-ups or larger biotech companies in the manufacturing process and the research process,” he said. “Or we’re making materials for Chinese electronics manufacturers (and) display manufacturers.”
As a result, Oschmann said, Merck KGaA is in a “very interesting place” in the rapidly developing Chinese market.
Earlier this year, industry watchers agreed that China was shedding its image as a country that copies ideas from the West to become a tech and innovation powerhouse. At least one expert said Chinese companies were increasingly innovating in more hardcore technological areas.
When asked if China was becoming stricter toward foreign companies operating within the mainland, Oschmann said he was seeing “a lot more assertiveness and that is only natural given the size of the market and the importance of China in the world economy.”
He added that the Chinese government, and business partners, understand Merck’s value as a partner in helping to upgrade their industries in areas such as biotechnology and electronics.
One common gripe many foreign companies have when it comes to doing business in China is around intellectual property theft. But recently, Beijing has cracked down on intellectual property rights violations including corporate espionage and counterfeiting of well-known brands.