57. Digitaldialog | Digitaldialog goes Asia – Focus on Greater China

57. Digitaldialog | Digitaldialog goes Asia – Focus on Greater China

For the first time, this successful series of events was international in scope.

The 57th Digital Dialog, this time, was all about Greater China and gave exciting insights into the microelectronics industry, as well as culture and business etiquette of the Asian region. The booming economic metropolises of Shanghai and Taipei were particularly highlighted by the speakers. The evening was led by Silicon Alps Managing Director Dr. Günther Lackner, who himself gathered profound professional experience in the Middle Kingdom.

(Un)known diversity in culture and business life

DI Hannes Rink, himself active for several years in the semiconductor sector in Taiwan and China, reported on the Taiwanese diversity in culture, country and people. As a very hospitable country, the people of Taiwan mainly practice the Buddhist faith. Taiwan’s landscape is varied. The most popular sport is golf, where you can do business with your partners in peace and quiet. But mountaineering on the 3,952 m high Yushan or simply relaxing in the hot springs are also very popular here. Taiwan is historically characterized by many different immigrants, so the inhabitants are very open and friendly. Eating in Taiwanese business culture is very important, as it brings many advantages as an icebreaker in the approach to business partners. Business cards should also be presented from both parties. Much depends on what job position the international business partner has. For example, if one is the managing director of a company, they will certainly be introduced to the right people for themselves. Another tip is that you should discuss respectfully with your business partners and answer questions calmly and patiently.

DI Simon Sebanz, COO at AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG, shared his hands-on experience in setting up a production plant in Shanghai in the early 2000s with the public. The initial challenge for the AT & S team was to copy the Leoben plant in China and roll out the same culture there. Through the efforts of a very young, dynamic and adaptable team, a production plant was established in Shanghai that set new ecological standards in the region. An important success factor was that AT & S did not want to invest in cheap labour, but in technology. Cultural differences must be understood and accepted. Especially for the Chinese population, holidays like “Chinese New Year” 春節 / 春节 are very important. So, Mr. Sebanz and his colleagues experienced that Chinese employees in Austria preferred to spend these holidays at home with their family. Avoid doing business or holding meetings during lunch. The biggest advantage of the Chinese population is clearly that everyone knows everyone and always acts in a solution-oriented way. A strong orientation and strategy, as well as the possibility for further development, optimise decision-making and implementation paths. Employees in China are usually very flexible, so they often avoid the problem instead of tackling it. Because a 90%-completed solution is also a solution. Direct communication should also be avoided if there is a problem. Losing face is the worst thing that can happen to Chinese individuals. Indirect communication is clearly to be preferred here.

The head of the Graz Confucius Institute and Managing Director of the SINOplex Group, Dr. Wan Jie Chen, moved his life from China to Austria early on. The China-Expert for intercultural management gave interesting and important suggestions on how Austrian companies can develop their business in China. So, the structure of Guangxi, the relationship, is extremely important. He identified three intercultural levels that are important in the establishment. The Chinese people don’t say no– they describe it. According to the proverb “The emperor is far away, the sky is high”, Chinese partners interact on a much deeper level – deductively as well as inductively. Contract negotiations do not begin until the contract has been signed. All previous negotiations were only conducted with the intention of concluding a deal. It is also valuable to check the creditworthiness of the business partner at the time of incorporation.

Shu-Mei Yang, Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria, presented Taiwan’s most important economic and ecological indicators. With a population of 23.57 million inhabitants, a gross domestic product of 572.7 billion USD and an export turnover of 317.3 billion USD, Taiwan shows that it can be regarded as an essential global player and influential economic partner thanks to its highly competitive electronics industry, which benefits from numerous product innovations in the domestic market. With important industrial initiatives such as Asia Silicon Valley (IoT Vision 2025), Smart Machinery, Bio-Pharmaceuticals, Green Energy, National Defense and many more, the director presented various investment opportunities that are intended to further boost the Taiwanese economy and strengthen the global market position.

Trends, developments & opportunities

The subsequent panel discussion was a tense one. The Austrian economic delegate in Shanghai, Christina Schösser, and David Cutler, Semiconductor Engineering and Operations Professional, were invited as guest speakers for the discussion. Everyone agrees that the trend in the Greater China region is towards high-end technology (China 2015). The goal is to be one of the best and strongest global players. China is therefore investing in and upgrading its production facilities. This is also an opportunity for small to medium-sized suppliers, who above all have know-how in setting up high-end factories. Especially loyal suppliers are in great demand. At present, Chinese investments in Europe are also increasingly being noticed. This is due to the fact that special high-tech know-how is to be acquired and established. China is already much further ahead than a “copying competitor”. It has evolved since. It’s gotten more creative. The topic of high automation also has a strong influence. Essentially, there are hardly any differences in the countries – Europe or Asia – that Industry 4.0 is used. On the contrary, low-wage countries do not benefit from automation. If a global corporation like Adidas wants it to operate close to its customers, it will tend to produce fully automatically in Germany – according to the experts.

After the lively and very informative discussion, the review of the last Silicon Alps delegation trip in the Pearl River Delta 2017, as well as the outlook of the next Silicon Alps Cluster Focus trip to Shanghai and Taipei in September 2018, was seamless. Dr. Günther Lackner gave an impressive review of last year’s trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The next focus journey will take place from the 9th tothe 16th of September 2018 and will highlight the trend topics of Robotics, 3D Printing, Smart City and Semiconductors. In addition to top-class research institutions, renowned companies in the EBS sector are visited. The number of participants is limited, so please registerearly.

Finally, networking was promoted in a relaxed atmosphere. During numerous discussions, opinions, as well as contacts, were actively exchanged. What is certain is that the Greater China region will be one of the fastest-growing areas in the electronics industry now and in the coming decades, and will set new standards in the industry thanks to its flexible and innovation-promoting culture.

Chair:Dr. Günther Lackner (Silicon Alps)


DI Hannes Rink | Rink Technology GmbH & Co KG
DI Simon Sebanz | AT & S Technologie & Systemtechnik AG 
Shu-Mei Yang | Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria – Präsentation 1
Shu-Mei Yang | Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria – Präsentation 2
Dr. Günther Lackner | Silicon Alps Cluster 

Retrospect Silicon Alps delegation trip to Hongkong and Shenzhen 2017