"Hamburg is the cutting edge industrial gateway for Korean business partners"

Interview with Mr. Stefan Matz, a director in Hamburg Business Development Corporation

 Mr. Stefan Matz, a director of international business in Hamburg Business Development Corporation, visited Korea on 28th Nov. to promote Hamburg economic activities. It is 22 years since he was in Korea in 1994. The Shippers' Journal(BVL Korea, MediaKN) met Mr. Matz in KGCCI office to ask a few questions regarding his activities. This time Mr. Christopher Zimmer, a Hamburg ambassador and also a general manager Korea of Lufthansa airlines, sit in company.

 Q.  Could you introduce all about Hamburg Business Development Corporation? Your history, what are you doing, and so on.

 Yes, thank you for that question because we can introduce what we are doing. Hamburg is the 2nd biggest German city behind Berlin which is the capital. Hamburg has 1.8 million people, compared to Seoul or other city in the world, this is just medium size. We started its operation in 1985, so 31 years ago, the Hamburg Business Development Corporation was established.

 We basically do exactly 2 things; we support the local business, in terms of the growth, so we support Hamburg based companies to find the new location or to expand the business in Hamburg and region. The second is we support international companies in finding right locations in Europe to expand the business we try to fit them in to Hamburg. What we do is we focus on certain countries, on certain industries where our city has to offer something and we promote Hamburg as business locations. So the structure of our company is, we are the company limited according to German law, we are 100% aided by the city of Hamburg.

 Hamburg is one of the sixteen German states, we talked about Bremen before, Bremen is also one of the sixteen states, so Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin are city states, and we have the other 13 states. What we did is we shaped our company when we set it up in 1985, to do exactly these two things. In my division, we have a team of about 10 people who look into different regions of the world, so coming with the background of language, cultural understanding, mainly being born somewhere else and then moved to  Hamburg. So we covered the countries, the regions by native people who have been there and are experienced.

 The structure is like company, and we are one part of the entire Hamburg marketing. So we are marketing the city, in terms of business location, attracting tourists, attracting international conventions, and on top we have a kind of roof structure, which is called the Hamburg marketing company, Gmbh in German. So with the total structure, we have been promoting Hamburg so that people understand that the city does exist, what the city has to offer, that the city can be an option as business location of to set up conferences or something. And this is what we do in total, we have about 200 people working for the entire Hamburg marketing.

 Q.  What is the aim of your visit to Korea this time?

 The aim is that, I want to, first of all, promote Hamburg actively, in terms of introducing business location, we have several meetings with several companies and institutions, so we can do that directly. And at the same time also we want to intensify our activities in Korea.

 We have been active for many years, but we have been at the moment of last some years we have been mainly reacting and we have been mainly in touch with Korean companies that are in Hamburg region already, but we see huge opportunities for Korean companies look into the activities in Europe and Germany.

 And our business location could be the right spot to establish an office and I think the variety of industries that we have in Hamburg gives plenty of opportunities for Korean companies from very different industries to establish their operational office, and also to find right customers.

 Q.  What do you think is the most feasible co-operative economic area between the state of Hamburg and Korea?

 I think that the plenty of industries that have similarity. I think that in Seoul, and also in some industries particular in Busan, talking about logistics and some other industries we should not restrict that on to the city of the Seoul. Then we have plenty of activities.

 Special aspect of the Hamburg is that we are not focusing on one industry exclusively. In some other locations in Germany or where else you have one very strong dominating industry, that could be logistics, that could be automobile, that could be chemical industry, whatsoever.

 In Hamburg, we have several strong arms and one thing is logistics. Our port is the 2nd biggest in Europe, in terms of container, Hamburg and Antwerp are always fighting for who is number 2, there is always one number 1 Rotterdam. In terms of German ports, we are by far the biggest port, in terms of Asia going and Asia coming cargo, Hamburg is the number 1 in Europe. So when you see our containers going to Asian ports, very strong for Chinese ports nowadays, but also Korean ports and Japanese ports, all coming from Asia. Then Hamburg is far ahead.

 Hamburg has very long tradition. In relation to Asia, Hamburg has very long tradition in terms of the port. We always celebrate port anniversary. We do that always on the earliest days of the May every year and we did that for 827 years this time. So it’s quite traditional.

 Logistics is one thing. Logistics is not only the port, the port is the gateway, incoming and outgoings. I think the intelligent use of incoming and outgoing cargo plus internet connections, intermodal connections, train connections, road connections, and everything happens inside the port. I think Hamburg is always in special challenge because our port is not somewhere at the coast side, our port is in the middle of the city.

 And we always have to upgrade the efficiency and add aspects like smart port, the digitalization, high increase of the processes and also upgrading the port in terms of development. We see, for example at the moment, huge development which is not only cargo, but also passengers. Hamburg is becoming more and more attractive place for cruise ships. 170 cruise ships this year coming to Hamburg. So it is not only the cargo, but also the passengers.

 Besides, logistics and everything involved Hamburg has certain other industries. Hamburg is one of the biggest industry spots in Europe with very long tradition. One thing is everything in the media. So starting from printing and publishing via internet, via telecommunication.

 The game industry. the game is something that Korea is strong as well, the game industry, the digitalization, internet, IT, in total is very strong, and Hamburg is one of these parts.

 Then we talk about the aviation industry. Hamburg is one of the three big cities, three leading cities world-wide civil aviation. Building aircraft is Seattle, Toulouse in Southern France and Hamburg. Hamburg is the 3rd biggest. We build aircraft, including in particular Airbus A320 family and we have final assembly location for 380, very big Airbus. Then there is Lufthansa technique, the leading provider of maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification services for civil aircraft. That is one thing.

 Then we have very strong influencing development is maritime business. Hamburg used to be one of the leading spot for ship-building and this changed a lot. Also the Korean ship building industry has a lot of challenges and Hamburg cannot build the container ships or oil tankers competitively any more. What we do is we have special constructions, and again repair maintenance  for all in the maritime industry. And there is one leading trading fair SMM, which is always held in September. That is the maritime.

 Then we have renewable energy. Hamburg started early to think about renewable energy and today we are wind energy center in Europe. There are most of the all of the big players to wind energy from Germany, from Denmark, the international ones, they are in Hamburg.

 We are not so strong in solar and biomass, but wind energy in Hamburg is leading but again with leading exhibition that is held every year. Besides that, the life sciences, Hamburg is even particular in terms of development bio technology and application and there is a lot of finance and insurance related industry. Hamburg is doing about 75% of its revenue in tertiary sector in terms of services and trade.

 Q.  Industry 4.0(or the 4th Industrial Revolution) is also the key word in Korea nowadays. Does state of Hamburg have any specific vision or scheme regarding Industry 4.0 from an economic perspective?

 I think that Industry 4.0 is a magic word at the moment that everyone is talking about. I think it is very good to see the next step, the next generation of the development. I think that Industry 4.0 is something that is influencing more or less the whole line of industries.

 Logistics is one thing, then manufacturing, and we see also that services will be influenced and we see that in Hamburg, there are a lot of developments that are related to industry 4.0. That goes into the industries I have just mentioned, that also goes into newly developed products or technologies like 3D printing for example, we see that it is a huge development and we see that if you do it right, the location can benefit from Industry 4.0 being installed in different industries.

 So again, we see also good opportunity for cooperation, and I think again, for cooperation between Hamburg and Korean players. Industry 4.0 is something that we will see over the next years, and the very strong development, I think that we have to take a chance.