Released as world export champion: China overtakes Germany in mechanical engineering

Released as world export champion
China overtakes Germany in mechanical engineering

Germany is no longer the world’s most important mechanical engineering exporter. The title of the most delivered machines and systems in 2020 goes to China. The corona pandemic also plays a major role in the rise.

According to their own calculations, Germany’s mechanical engineering companies have lost their title as export world champion to China. According to an initial estimate by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) for the past year, China, with 165 billion euros, made up 15.8 percent of the total export volume of machines and systems.

According to this, Germany sold machines and systems to the value of 162 billion euros abroad and thus in 2020 had a share of 15.5 percent of the global foreign trade volume estimated at around 1,048 billion euros in this area. In 2019, the German suppliers still had a lead of 1.4 percentage points on China in the foreign trade statistics of the mechanical engineering sector. The “Welt” had previously reported on the study.

“The corona pandemic in particular gave China’s rise a powerful boost because the country was affected very early and only for a very short time, while the European sales market suffered a severe setback as a result of the pandemic,” explains the head of VDMA foreign trade, Ulrich Ackermann, in one Communication from the association. “A strong economic recovery in the EU could ensure that machine exports from Germany and other European countries will grow faster again in 2021. But the long-term trend clearly speaks in favor of China.”

Opportunities for German manufacturers

According to the VDMA, the rise of China also opens up opportunities for German manufacturers. For example, there is “noticeable pent-up demand” in the field of industrial robots in China, which promises good export opportunities. According to a survey of 222 member companies on which the study is based, around 36 percent of machine and plant manufacturers from Germany and Switzerland rate the Chinese strategy “Made in China 2025” as positive for their own business.

With this strategy and the current five-year plan, the People’s Republic is striving for technological supremacy in various industrial fields, for example in intelligent manufacturing and robotics or in agricultural engineering.