>> Bauer is better placed than most German companies who invested heavily in China over the past few decades but that hasn't stopped the construction of equipment firm's chief executive Thomas Bauer from worrying.>> In my whole life, I have never seen a competition like this before.>> His concerns are indicative of a problem facing Germany's broader relationship with the vast Asian market For more than a decade, Germany has been the economic power house of Europe and China has been crucial.
Over the past decade, it's bought German cars and machinery at an astonishing pace as it gradually opened up to foreign firms. Last year alone, German manufacturers sold five million cars in China, more than three times as many as in the US. But the opening up of China has been put into reverse under Xi Jinping, domestic companies are catching up with their German competitors.
For Bauer, when it opened its first production facilities in China in the mid-1990s, not a single Chinese firm could make the sophisticated drilling machines it produces. By 2013, it counted 36 Chinese competitors who could.>> There was an unbelieveable need for construction machines. And this was the reason that many Chinese companies started to build the same machines as we are doing.
And so a very severe competition started in China.>> And Germany's problem is also Europe's. Years of inward-focused crisis fighting have left it politically divided. Now it finds itself sandwiched between the America first policies of Donald Trump and the more assertive Beijing.