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Archive for October 11th, 2011

press: India Week Hamburg 2011 – Hamburg and India – partners with a bright future

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on October 11, 2011


Whether it is Bollywood, Hatha Yoga, the Taj Mahal, IT products or textile imports – with its ancient cultural history and its dynamic economy, the Indian subcontinent is more fascinating than ever. For many years, Hamburg and India have been maintaining a close relationship in business, science and culture. With the 2011 India Week coming up in Hamburg, it seems worthwhile to take a closer look at the diversity of these bonds.

Only a few people know that India’s national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana” (rec.: composed by Rabindranath Tagore), was in fact premiered at Hamburg’s Atlantic Hotel. It was performed to mark the founding of the German-Indian Society in September 1942, at a time when India was still a British colony. Back then, trade links between Hamburg and India could already be traced back to the 16th century. In terms of maritime trade in particular, India gained more and more importance, a fact that led to the founding of the “Hamburg-Kalkutta Linie”, a shipping line that was later taken over by the German shipping company HAPAG. The Indian Consulate General in Hamburg was opened in 1952.

Strong trading partners with a long tradition

India’s dynamic economic growth over the last few years spurred business relations between the trading partners. Reaching a foreign trade volume of EUR 1.27 billion (2010), Hamburg’s share in German-Indian trading grew by 11 percent. One third of this volume is made up of exports from Hamburg to India, especially engineering products, aircraft technology, electrical engineering, iron, steel and metal goods. German expertise in the fields of shipping, logistics and renewable energy in particular is in high demand.

Products that are exported from India to Germany include textiles, spices, chemicals and oil. In 2010, Hamburg’s India-related port turnover amounted to more than 240,000 standard containers (TEU), including shipments via Sri Lanka (a plus of 18 percent). The first half of 2011 already saw the handling of 140,000 TEU.

Around 570 Hamburg-based businesses are involved in foreign trade with India. Of these companies, 120 have representative offices, branches or production plants in India. For these entrepreneurs from Hamburg, India offers a seemingly endless potential for growth. What is more, this is a bidirectional route as more and more Indian companies invest in Hamburg, among them Tata Consultancy Services, Suzlon Energy Ltd. (REpower), Mahindra Satyam, as well as several textile and spices importers such as Seth, BOOM and H.A.N.S. Spices. More than 35 Indian companies have settled in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, and a good 2,500 men and women of Indian origins live in Hamburg.

Networks and advisory services in Hamburg

In Hamburg, the most important contact points for trade relations with India are the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, the Hamburg Ministry of Economy, Traffic and Innovation, and the HWF Hamburg Business Development Corporation. For more than a century, the Hamburg-based OAV German Asia-Pacific Business Association has been active fostering relations to Indian businesses.

Many of those stakeholders involved in India meet up at the German-Indian Round Table (GIRT), a forum that was established in 2001 by Hamburg entrepreneur Rudolf Weiler with the aim of promoting business relations between Germany and India. Mr Weiler is also one of the organisers of India Week. Since 2010, the GIRT is managed by Mr Rajnish Tiwari of TUHH, who is also one of the organisers of the India Week.

In 2008, the Hamburg Senate decided to focus the versatile activities of Hamburg institutions by founding the “Task Force India”, a project that aims to enhance networking and strengthen economic and cultural relations between Hamburg and India.

German businesses in India: massive potential for growth

Those Hamburg businesses that are active in India, can receive support and advisory services onsite. In New Delhi, Mr Dietrich Kebschull represents businesses from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, assisting them in maintaining collaborations with Indian partners. Moreover, Mr Frank König, head of branch at C. Illies & Co, a Hamburg-based trading group, is promoting the Hanseatic City of Hamburg as a volunteer “HamburgAmbassador” in Mumbai.

Since October 2010, the “Service point for SME – market access India” advises small and medium-sized companies from North Germany in India. The service point is operated by the HWWI Hamburg Institute of International Economics in collaboration with the IGEP Indo-German Export Promotion Foundation. The project is funded by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the European Social Fund (ESF). In January 2011, the Hamburg Senate, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, and Hafen Hamburg Marketing e.V. launched a Hamburg representative office in Mumbai. The office is managed by Mr Peter Deutbet.

Lively exchange in science and research

Also in the realms of education and science, Hamburg maintains strong relations with the Indian subcontinent. Some of Hamburg’s universities have been engaged in co-operations with Indian elite universities and research centres for several decades. In the winter semester of 2010/2011, a total of 125 Indian students were enrolled in one of Hamburg’s many universities and polytechnics. 88 of these students, i.e. approximately 70 percent, were enrolled in engineering degrees at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).

Since 2003, the Asia Africa Institute (AAI) at the University of Hamburg hosts an annual South Asia Day. The event focusses on economic, political and cultural developments in the region. In a similar fashion, the Hamburg-based GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies dedicates itself to researching political, social and economic developments in India.

Hamburg is leading the German-Indian cultural dialogue

The Hanseatic City of Hamburg is also maintaining strong relationships with artists and cultural institutions in Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Apart from Hamburg-based cultural institutions, local associations such as the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft play a major role in establishing and maintaining these contacts.

Thus artists, musicians and choreographers from Germany and India meet on a regular basis and engage in collaborations, presenting their work at festivals in Hamburg and India. The arthouse cinema “Metropolis” offers Indian film weeks on a regular basis. By covering retrospectives and recent films from India, they provide the audience with a lively insight into life in India.

In November 2009, a delegation of the Hamburg Cultural Authority travelled to the Indian cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Several projects emerged from this trip; among them Max Zähle’s film “Raju”, which was awarded a Bronze Oscar at the 2011 Student Academy Awards. The making of the film goes back to a memorandum between the Hamburg Media School and the Roopkala Kendro Institute of Film in Kolkata. Another collaboration that emerged from the trip is the arts project “Yamuna – Elbe”, which will be part of the cultural programme of this year’s India Week. Many more exciting German-Indian arts projects remain to be seen.

(Source: 10/11/2011 – Hanseatic City Hamburg | India Week Hamburg 2011 | Press: Hamburg and India)

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