The Chinese invented fireworks, as well as paper, as we know it today. And the cement used in the Great Wall of China contains sticky rice. This knowledge might suffice for small talk at the next cocktail party. But more is needed to be able to understand a country. Audi has been at home on the roads of the People’s Republic for more than 25 years. But the pulse of the Chinese dragon is accelerating: By 2025, the country is set to become one of the globally leading innovation economies – a good-enough reason to visit it once in a while.
Innovation made in China
“What we in Germany would describe as kitsch is very popular here. In China, luxury is very opulent, not as discreet and minimal as at home.”
After a fortnight, it’s time to say “Goodbye” to a world that one has to experience in order to understand it. What remains is the memory of a country whose essence is its diametrical opposites: the combination of traditional values and virtues with apparently inexhaustible energy and amazingly powerful progress. Ultimately, it felt like the obligatory journey on the Maglev, the Chinese version of Germany’s Transrapid magnetic levitation train in Shanghai, says Frank. “Everything is happening at an incredible speed. When the train races towards a curve at 400 kilometers per hour, one can hardly believe that it won’t be derailed. But it works, and is extremely impressive.” The same applies to living and working in China: “There are street corners here that literally change overnight, because an old building is demolished and immediately replaced by something new – sometimes one has the almost frightening feeling that something worth keeping is being lost, but at the same time, this agility and creative power is exciting. I’ll certainly come again; if only for that reason.” And probably not just once.