What is the biggest challenge China faces and how can the country overcome it?
We live in times of great social and economic transformation. In fact, we witness an unprecedented trend toward urbanization. According to the United Nations, by 2050, one quarter of the world's largest cities will be in China.
At Covestro, we believe sustainability is essential to preserve our planet and improve the quality of life for millions.
Therefore, innovative solutions are needed to create an urban environment which allows for more sustainable living.
For example, Covestro is committed to electric vehicles. Last year, we presented a groundbreaking concept for electric mobility involving, for the first time, wrap-around glazing made from polycarbonate and innovative lighting with holographic films.
What opportunities will the Belt and Road Initiative provide for China and the rest of the world?
The aim is to revitalize the economies along the old Silk Road through enhanced connectivity and cooperation.
At the same time, this allows global companies, such as Covestro, to further expand its footprint.
Planned infrastructure projects will need material solutions and therefore present huge market potential.
Already, our company is involved in Belt and Road economies by working with Chinese companies on waterborne polyurethane coatings solutions for urban rail and freight trains.
Covestro also benefits from having a major presence in China. The transportation time of our cold-sensitive raw materials from Germany to Central China has been reduced from between two to three months to 20 days. We have managed to do this by using temperature-controlled containers when the materials are transported by rail.
The first shipment arrived at the end of June, but then rail transportation has proved to be a viable alternative. It is cheaper than air freight, faster than maritime shipping and more environmentally friendly than both of them.
What are the most innovative trends and products in China?
Today, the world has entered the digital revolution era. This latest global trend has changed economic models and given birth to emerging business patterns, such as e-commerce and the sharing economy.
A number of Chinese companies, such as Alibaba (Group Holding) and Tencent (Holdings) are leaders in this field. But, again, the high-tech plastics industry is helping to propel this trend.
Companies such as Covestro are already involved in this transformation by making products more efficient and user-friendly through good design and safety features.
One example is Makrolon, our high-tech polycarbonate, which is the material of choice in many electronic products.
China is known as a manufacturing giant, but what will the country's "calling card" be in the future?
The country is on its way to becoming a driving force in innovation. In fact, China has shown determination to transform itself into an innovation-driven economy, and this will offer market opportunities for industries around the world.
Although a gap still exists in terms of innovation capabilities in science and technologies, companies such as Alibaba and Huawei (Technologies Co) have proved the country can produce world-class businesses. With our domestic partnerships, Covestro is well positioned to support China in becoming a sophisticated innovation hub, which will inspire the world.