2019 saw the continued growth of China’s global-influence, despite a slowing economy and US President Donald Trump’s tariffs. Xi Jinping’s China now has the largest diplomatic corps in the world engaged in soft power projects, a reflection of its increasingly-vocal protection of its interests and its growing investments around the world. Many of those investments are part of the so-called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is a series of major infrastructure projects designed to smooth trade with the nation. China has been rapidly building its New Silk Road since 2013. Beijing has invested in harbors, railways, roads and power infrastructure in more than 60 countries. With this network, China wants to secure export markets, as well as access to raw materials. For a long time, China has shown a keen interest in Germany and Europe, investing heavily in the Balkans. China is courting German companies developing innovative technologies which could also be interesting for the Chinese market. According to a study by the Bertelsmann foundation, technologies particularly in demand are automotive drive systems, energy systems, biomedical technology and machine engineering.
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