Economic success despite strict regulations
18 Jan 2022 14:31 Economy
The strict health regulations continue to delay many operations in China. At the same time, the demand for products increased, which led to a huge rise in freight rates. International tourism has come to a complete standstill in China, as no visas were issued for tourism purposes in 2021 and the entry of relatives is also very cumbersome. A 14- to 28-day mandatory central quarantine is required for every entry from abroad.
Many international trade fairs and events had to be postponed after local COVID outbreaks. Local power outages have also made international headlines: as a consequence for failing to meet national emission standards, local governments have unceremoniously cut the power supply to some industrial plants. Also, an increase in demand following the resumption of activities after the pandemic caused an unexpected load on the grid.
Highlights of 2021
In addition to these very serious events, there were also a number of highlights in 2021. The largest national trade fair, the China International Import Expo, was held in Shanghai in November. The first Shanghai-Hamburg Line train departed from Shanghai for the first time on 28 September 2021. In the opposite direction, a train of the line left Hamburg on 7 October to deliver trade fair exhibits to Shanghai for the CIIE. The CIIE also took advantage of the Port of Hamburg Marketing Representative Office (HHR) Shanghai and organised the 1st German Logistics Roundtable on 8 November 2021. Representatives from HHLA, DB Cargo and Eurogate, among others, were invited as speakers. They outlined the development of global logistics chains during and after the pandemic. In addition to the CIIE stand, which was jointly organised by HHM and HHLA, the event helped to raise public awareness of the Port of Hamburg in China.
The local economy in China has largely recovered after the Covid-related slumps. The logistics industry in particular has since achieved record levels of turnover. Even cultural activities are now possible. On 15 December, a Brahms concert took place in the Shanghai Concert Hall, heralding a series of activities related to the 5th anniversary of the Elbphilharmonie. In addition to this anniversary, the Hamburg Liaison Office China also celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Hamburg-Shanghai city partnership with festive events in Shanghai and Hamburg. The digital Hamburg Summit was also accompanied by public viewing from Shanghai. Around 50 guests from HHR Shanghai followed this China-Europe exchange. In total, however, more than 7500 users followed the online event. Internationally, China celebrated the 20th anniversary of its admission to the WTO. In general, HHR Shanghai expanded its regional presence, primarily through a stronger focus on online marketing, but also through targeted participation in events in the wider Yangtze River Delta region.
Difficult conditions, good prospects
Looking ahead to 2022, we assume that the strict entry regulations will be extended this year as well: the Chinese government's zero-Covid strategy is unlikely to allow any changes here", said Pan Hua, Port of Hamburg Marketing Representative China, Japan, Korea in Shanghai. This also applies to the Winter Olympics in China in spring 2022. After strong growth, the economy is experiencing slight stagnation again - which could possibly intensify. The government's stricter carbon dioxide regulations could also lead to a lasting change in the industry. A rather positive trend is to be expected with regard to the new Shanghai-Hamburg rail service: the currently still irregular frequency could be upgraded to a scheduled connection.