Hamburg has traditionally close ties to China and the city is hailed as “Han Bao” or “Bastion of Chinese”. But the name is by no means coincidental. More than 550 Chinese firms have branches in Hamburg making the city a gateway to the European market and conversely for the over 700 Hamburg-based firms operating in China.
Chinese shipping companies in Hamburg
The Port of Hamburg is a driving force of collaboration and some of the world’s biggest shipping companies such as China’s Cisco and Sintorans have set up headquarters in Hamburg from where they manage their pan European operations. China is by far the most important trade partner with a 29 per cent share of total container handling in the port of Hamburg. Last year, volumes of 23.6 million tons and 2.5 million TEU originating in or destined for China were handled in Hamburg and rising.
Twinning with Shanghai
Hamburg has close economic ties with Shanghai and firms there such as Chinatex Europe, Baosteel Trading Europe use Hamburg as an international service platform and for exporting goods across Europe. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the twinned cities of Hamburg and Shanghai. The Hamburg-Liaison-Office-Beijing also opened earlier this year in Shanghai.
Chinese institutions in Hamburg
Many key Chinese institutions have branches in Hamburg. The Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in the Elbchaussee has its own trade department and is an important mouthpiece for Chinese business people in Hamburg. Many privately organised entrepreneurs, for instance, the Chinese Merchants association in Germany also have branches in Hamburg. The University of Hamburg’s Confucius Institute, founded in 2007, hosts diverse events and conducts projects to promote Chinese culture and languages.
Around 10,000 people of Chinese origin live in Hamburg, according to the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF). Associations and institutions such as the Chinese-German society hold regular exhibitions and talks on cultural issues similar to the Hamburg-China Society and the Hamburger Sinologische Gesellschaft.
From 1988 to 2002, the first China Weeks were held and since 2006 have been held under a new concept called “China Time”. This year, around 160 events with a Chinese flair have been scheduled such as exhibitions, lectures, discussions, book readings, theatre plays, films and culinary events. The Chamber of Commerce has also initiated and hosts the biennial Hamburg Summit – a key European-Chinese economic summit.
Chinese restaurants and supermarkets
Hamburg is also a centre of Chinese cuisine with over 300 restaurants offering original regional dishes, according to HWF. Many Chinese supermarkets also cater to the tastes of Chinese fans.