Interview with Christian Sommer
“Western media are always ambivalent because they are very critical and therefore often focus on negative topics,” explains Christian Sommer. Since 2005, he has been CEO & Chairman of the German Center for Industry and Trade Shanghai Co Ltd, an institution for German companies venturing into the Chinese market and a meeting place for the German community for business and social events.
Ambivalence means that there are different forces in politics and business that are pulling in different directions. “It’s about the tension between the German economy’s desire to shape the future and the concern of finding a different system in China that doesn’t correspond to its own values,” Sommer explains.
Sommer, who studied law, has lived and worked in China for more than 20 years. He deals with criticism of the Chinese system on a daily basis. It is justified, “but are we doing it constructively?” For Sommer, who was born in Kiel, Germany, one thing is certain: “Only with sanctions and without communication will tensions increase rather than decrease.”
He would like to see a diplomatic approach: Not accusing, not being arrogant, but communicating objectively. Point out the differences. And above all: that Germany remains a role model.
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About Christian Sommer
Christian Sommer has been living and working in China for more than 20 years. He started his career in one of the first German law firms in Shanghai and helped building up the German Centre Beijing, before moving to his current position in 2005.
Under his direction the German Centre Shanghai, a subsidiary of BayernLB, has evolved into a
successful platform for Sino-German exchange and cooperation where hundreds of German
companies have started their entry into the Chinese market benefiting from Mr. Sommer´s expertise.
In 2016 Mr Sommer established the German Enterprise Center in Qingdao, as well as the German Centre Taicang, a subsidiary of the German Centre Shanghai.
Also in 2016 Christian Sommer was appointed programme ambassador of the Chancellor Fellowship of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation and in September 2017 he received the honorary citizenship of the Chinese city Suzhou. In 2021 Christian Sommer was honoured with the Magnolia Silver Award in acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to Shanghai´s development.
Furthermore Christian Sommer contributes to Sino-German cultural exchange as bass player in the Shanghai rock band “ShangHighVoltage” as well as co-organizer of the Sino-German table tennis tournaments.
About Simon Jacob
Simon Jacob is an operations and project management specialist with more than 20 years of experience in coordinating and implementing sales and marketing strategies for various companies in the IT and electronics industry.
He has several years of experience as a media consultant and producer working with public service media, renowned publishers and government organizations in Europe, the Middle East and the USA. He has also founded companies in the fields of information technology, consumer electronics and consulting and has served numerous politicians in Berlin, Brussels and Washington.
Jacob is responsible for the global strategic direction of the technology company and highly specialized distributor ComSIT. His main activity is complemented by many years of journalistic work (as a recognized and internationally registered journalist) in the areas of geopolitics, technological developments, digitization, cyber extremism and socio-political developments, in which the senior manager and author continues to be available as an advisor to political, academic and economic institutions. His geographical focus is on the Middle East, Europe, Asia and increasingly the USA.