What do you notice about the Chinese?

Germany and China | Perception and reality

background

China has been one of Germany's most important trading partners for years. Relations between the two countries have traditionally been characterized by friendship and are currently more intense than ever before. But how well do Germans know China? What is this knowledge based on and how is it influenced? What do the Chinese think of Germany and what are the reasons for this?

The third edition of the study "Germany and China - Perception and Reality" published by Huawei compares the personal perceptions and experiences of Germans with China and the Chinese with Germany. The scientific partner GIGA compares the survey results with facts and looks for possible reasons for the existing image of China by the Germans and the image of Germany by the Chinese.

In addition to the four established subject areas - "Associations, Interest, Contact", "Politics and State", "Economy and Innovation" and "Society and Culture", the Huawei study 2016 includes an additional focus section for the first time. This is dedicated to the topics of digitization and digital innovation.

For the study, TNS Emnid interviewed around 2600 people - around 1000 each from the population, 200 business decision-makers and 100 political decision-makers from both countries.

With this series of studies, Huawei would like to make a contribution to getting to know each other's cultures and to objectifying German-Chinese relations.

The most important results of the Huawei study 2016 can be found below in an overview.

Focus - digitization and digital innovation

The current third edition of the Huawei study contains a focus section for the first time, in which the relationship of Germans and Chinese to digitization is examined.

How open are Germans and Chinese to digital innovations and applications? Do you see their benefits or their dangers? How important are data protection and privacy? And how does digitalization affect the labor market in the opinion of the Germans and Chinese? These questions are just a few of many that will be answered and classified in the focus part of the Huawei study 2016.

Minimum age for owning a smartphone

From what age should children and adolescents have their own smartphone?

  • under 10 years
  • 10 to 12 years
  • 13 to 15 years
  • 16 to 18 years
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

From what age should children and adolescents have their own smartphone?

  • under 10 years
  • 10 to 12 years
  • 13 to 15 years
  • 16 to 18 years
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

According to the Chinese, children should have their own smartphone from an average age of 15.2 years. Almost every second Chinese (47%) even considers a first owner age of 16 to 18 to be appropriate.

The Germans find that children from the age of 12.9 can use their own smartphone well.

Attitude to digital innovations

Are Germans more positive or negative about digital innovations?

  • rather positive
  • rather negative
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

Do the Chinese tend to be positive or negative about digital innovations?

  • rather positive
  • rather negative
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

82% of the Chinese tend to have a positive view of digital innovations. So the self-image of the Chinese coincides astonishingly exactly with the image of others from the perspective of the Germans. 84% of Germans attribute a positive attitude towards digital innovations to the Chinese.

Germans consider themselves to be much less open-minded: a third of those surveyed (33%) attribute a rather negative attitude towards digital innovations to their own population. In contrast, 81% of Chinese think that Germans tend to have a positive attitude. Apparently the Chinese consider the Germans to be as open-minded as they are themselves.

Digitization and the job market

Which statement do you tend to agree with?

As digitization progresses, existing jobs are being cut.
The advancing digitization creates additional jobs.

Which statement do you tend to agree with?

As digitization progresses, existing jobs are being cut.
The advancing digitization creates additional jobs.

60% of Germans believe that ongoing digitalization will cut existing jobs.

The expectations of the Chinese are diametrically opposed: 57% of the Chinese assume that additional jobs will be created through digitization.

Handling of personal health data

Would you pass on your health data to your health insurance company if you had financial benefits or if you received professional advice on how to improve your health.

23% data transfer for financial benefits
41% data transfer for professional advice

Would you pass on your health data to your health insurance company if you had financial benefits or if you received professional advice on how to improve your health.

67% data submission for financial benefits
76% data submission for professional advice

Not even one in four Germans (23%) would currently be willing to pass on health data to their own health insurance if financial benefits were granted. For the Chinese, on the other hand, it is a good two thirds of those surveyed (67%).

In both countries, the willingness to pass on data increases significantly when professional health advice is given in return - among Germans to 41%, among Chinese to 76%.

Study overview: associations, interest, contact

In this part of the study, the mutual points of contact between Germans and Chinese and the respective other country are examined. Spontaneous associations, special areas of interest as well as the type and frequency of mutual contact are the central areas of the survey.

Spontaneous associations

What do you think of when you think of China?

34% economic power 2014: 37 2012: 28
16% population growth 2014: 202012: 25
14% violation of human rights 2014: 14 2012: 16
12% Chinese
Essen2014: 142012: 17
12% Great Wall of China 2014: 15 2012: 15
  • n. g. = not mentioned
  • (Multiple answers)

What do you think of spontaneously when you think of Germany?

66% strong economy 2014: 60 2012: 16
34% automotive industry 2014: 38 2012: 23
30% Industry / Technology 2014: 19 2012: n.g.
29% German
Character traits 2014: 14 2012: 5
13% German products 2014: 11 2012: 6
  • n. g. = not mentioned
  • (Multiple answers)

A good one in three Germans (34%) associate China with the country's economic strength. But social and cultural aspects also play a major role in Germany's image of China. 16% of all respondents associate the country with population growth. 12% each think of the local cuisine and the Great Wall of China.

The Chinese primarily associate Germany with attributes from the field of economics. The strong growth in “Industry and Technology” is remarkable - from 19% in 2014 to 30% now.

Prominent personalities

When you think of Chinese personalities, who do you think of spontaneously?

When you think of German personalities, who do you think of spontaneously?

20% Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
16% Ludwig van Beethoven

Adolf Hitler ranks first among the most frequently associated personalities in China. This is followed by Karl Marx, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Angela Merkel. The latter is somewhat remarkable: While the German head of state is mentally present to almost one in five Chinese, the Chinese President Xi Jinping is only mentioned spontaneously by 2% of Germans.

Among the Germans, Mao Zedong is number 1 of the most frequent mentions. More than every second German thinks of China when it comes to the keyword (54%). Far behind in second place with just 8%: Ai WeiWei.

Mutual interest: travel destination

How interested are you in China as a travel destination?

3,3
Average 2014: 3.1
  • very keen interest
  • no interest
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

How great is your interest in Germany as a travel destination?

3,3
Average 2014: 3.1
  • very keen interest
  • no interest
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

At 67%, Germany is an attractive travel destination for the majority of Chinese, while the interest of Germans in a trip to China is significantly lower at 33%. Since 2014, the interest of Germans in China has decreased slightly.

Conversely, the Chinese interest in Germany as a travel destination has risen by 7 percentage points. It fits in with the fact that three out of four Chinese who have already been to Germany state that they are traveling as a reason for travel. This corresponds to an increase of 11 percentage points.

Mutual contact

Which statements apply to you?

I've been to China before.
I know people from China personally.
I use Chinese products or brands.
I eat Chinese more often.

Which statements apply to you?

I've been to Germany before.
I know people from Germany personally.
I use German products or brands.
I eat German dishes more often.

For Germans, contact with China is much more pronounced than the other way around. Although only 12% of the German respondents were in China, one in three (34%) knows people from China personally; and around every second person uses Chinese products (52%) and states that they eat Chinese more often (47%).

In contrast, German cuisine is hardly present in China. Only 7% of the Chinese eat German dishes more often - at least a slight increase of 3 percentage points since 2014. Even fewer Chinese have ever been to Germany or know people from Germany personally. However: a good one in three Chinese uses German products.

Study overview: Politics and the state

This part of the study is devoted to questions from the fields of politics and the state. The questions concern, among other things, the economic and social order of the other country, freedom of expression and legal security, environmental policy, foreign and security policy and international relations.

Economic and social order

Germans agree with the following statements: China is ...

2014: 3,22012: 3,1
2014: 2,72012: 2,5
  • In each case, the mean value is given on a 5-point scale from (1) “fully agree” to (5) “strongly disagree”.
  • A mean value of 3.2 therefore corresponds to partial agreement.

The Chinese agree with the following statements: Germany is ...

2014: 2,02012: 2,0
2014: 3,52012: 3,3
  • In each case, the mean value is given on a 5-point scale from (1) “fully agree” to (5) “strongly disagree”.
  • A mean value of 3.2 therefore corresponds to partial agreement.

33% of Germans consider China to be capitalist, but 47% are of the opinion that China is a socialist state. This shows that the Germans are still struggling to classify the Chinese economic and social order.

Conversely, this is much easier for the Chinese: Almost four out of five Chinese (78%) classify Germany as capitalist.

influence

How do you feel about China's strength and power?

Concerned about China's economic strength?
2014: 49
Concerned about the political power of China?
2014: 59
Concerned about China's military strength?
2014: 56
  • very / rather concerned
  • little / not at all concerned
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

How do you feel about Germany's strength and power?

Concerned about Germany's economic strength?
2014: 15
Concerned about the political power of Germany?
2014: 17
Concerned about Germany's military strength?
2014: 16
  • very / rather concerned
  • little / not at all concerned
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

For 44% of Germans, China's economic strength is cause for concern. This means that the proportion of Germans who perceive China's economic strength as worrying has fallen by 5 percentage points since 2014. However, over half of Germans (57%) are still worried about China's political power and military strength.

In contrast, Germany is hardly perceived as a threat in China - neither economically, politically, nor militarily.

Importance of international relations

In your opinion, which international relationship is the more important for Germany, both politically and economically?

in economic terms
The relationship with China is the more important one for Germany.
The relationship with the USA is the more important one for Germany.
China and the US are equally important.

Which international relationship do you think is more important for China, both politically and economically?

in economic terms
The relationship with Europe is the more important one for China.
The relationship with the US is the more important one for China.
Both relationships are equally important.

24% of Germans consider economic relations with China to be more important than those with the USA. Only 18% give the US priority as a business partner. For 58% of Germans, economic relations with China and the USA are considered equally important. The situation is different with political relations. From the perspective of the Germans, China only plays a subordinate role here compared to the USA.

In China, Sino-European relations take precedence over the US - both politically and economically.

Image of different countries

What is your personal image of the following countries?

24% see China positively 2014: 24
52% see Japan positively 2014: 51
42% see the US positively 2014: 47
18% see Russia positively 2014: 18
  • The top 2 values ​​are given, ie the sum of (1) "very positive" and (2) "rather positive" (on a 5-point scale).

What is your personal image of the following countries?

74% see Germany positively 2014: 67
61% see Russia positively 2014: 47
52% see the US positively 2014: 51
24% see Japan positively 2014: 28
  • The top 2 values ​​are given, ie the sum of (1) "very positive" and (2) "rather positive" (on a 5-point scale).

Almost a quarter of Germans (24%) say they have a positive image of China. In the perception of the Germans, China ranks behind France (71%), Great Britain (59%), Japan (52%) and the USA (42%). Only India (22%) and Russia (18%) do worse.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of the Chinese have a very or rather positive view of Germany, which puts it in second place, just behind France (75%).The proportion of Chinese with a positive image of Germany has also increased by 7 percentage points since 2014.

Study overview: economy and innovation

“Economy and innovation” is the central chapter of the Huawei study. Here the economic relations between Germany and China as well as the mutual perception in relation to economic growth, innovative ability, product quality, high-tech competence and brand awareness are examined.

Importance of bilateral economic relations

In your opinion, what influence does the economy in China have on Germany?

2,3
Average 2014: 2.3 2012: 2.2
  • very big influence
  • no influence at all
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

In your opinion, what influence does the economy in Germany have on China?

2,3
Average 2014: 2.3 2012: 2.2
  • very big influence
  • no influence at all
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

59% of Germans believe that China's economy has a rather large (42%) or very large (17%) influence on Germany. Within the group of economic decision-makers, this proportion is 69%, among political decision-makers it is even 90% of those surveyed.

The Chinese population estimates the importance of the German economy on China to be just as high as, conversely, the German population assesses China's influence on Germany: 56% of the Chinese assume a rather large (41%) or very large (15%) influence - that corresponds to an increase of 12 percentage points since 2014.

Assessment of high-tech competence

Are Chinese companies able to manufacture high-tech products?

  • Yes
  • partly, partly
  • No
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

Are German companies able to manufacture high-tech products?

  • Yes
  • partly, partly
  • No
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

The overwhelming majority of Germans and the Chinese see the other country as a location for high-tech production. 83% of Germans believe that Chinese companies can manufacture high-tech products; 89% of the Chinese population attribute this competence to German companies.

competitiveness

Are Chinese Technology Products Internationally Competitive?

  • Yes
  • partly, partly
  • No
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

Are German technology products internationally competitive?

  • Yes
  • partly, partly
  • No
  • don't know / no answer
  • (Numbers in percent)

64% of the German population are of the opinion that Chinese technology products are internationally competitive. Within the group of economic decision-makers, this is even 67%, while within the group of political decision-makers, only 50% of the respondents.

German technology products are rated as internationally competitive by 84% of the Chinese. Among the Chinese policy makers, 91% share this assessment, among the economic decision-makers it is 95%.

Brand awareness

Which of the following Chinese brands do you know?

36% Lenovo2014: 302012: 27
30% Huawei2014: 212012: 12
15% Alibaba 2014: 4 2012: 4
12% Yingli Solar 2014: 17 2012: 19
6% SAIC2014: n.e. 2012: n.e.
  • n. e. = not collected
  • The stated values ​​correspond to the statement "I know and I know what it is about".

Which of the following German brands do you know?

89% BMW2014: 852012: n.e.
88% Mercedes2014: n.e. 2012: n.e.
87% Volkswagen2014: 862012: 90
82% Siemens 2014: 872012: 91
76% Adidas 2014: 822012: 79
  • n. e. = not collected
  • The stated values ​​correspond to the statement "I know and I know what it is about".

The three best-known German brands in China all come from the automotive industry - with extraordinarily high levels of awareness of 87% to 89%.

Chinese brands are far less common in Germany. The top 3 best-known brands include Lenovo (36%), Huawei (30%) and Alibaba (15%). Huawei (plus 18 percentage points) and Alibaba (plus 11 percentage points) have seen the greatest increase in awareness since 2012.

Study overview: society and culture

The last part of the study deals with cultural values, collective characteristics and attitudes; also about social participation and change processes in Germany and China. In addition, the very personal attitudes of Germans and Chinese towards the other culture are asked.

Attribution of collective properties

Agreement with statements about Chinese culture and mentality: Chinese are ...

67% ... a peaceful people. 2014: 71
57% ... rather flexible and pragmatic. 2014: 52
41% ... rather tolerant. 2014: 38

Agreement with statements about German culture and mentality: Germans are ...

68% ... a peaceful people. 2014: 74
62% ... rather flexible and pragmatic. 2014: 60
69% ... rather tolerant. 2014: 61

67% of Germans consider the Chinese to be peaceful. Almost as many Chinese (68%) attribute precisely this characteristic to the Germans. In addition, the majority of Germans (57%) and Chinese (62%) consider each other to be flexible and pragmatic.

Proximity and distance

Agreement with statements about personal attitudes towards Chinese culture:

I perceive the Chinese culture as
very strange.
I like the Chinese culture, such as B.
Music, films or literature.
I can imagine completely or
to live temporarily in China.
16% longer stay 2014: 21

Agreement with statements about personal attitudes towards German culture:

I perceive the German culture as
very strange.
I like the German culture, such as B.
Music, films or literature.
I can imagine completely or
to live temporarily in Germany.
45% longer stay 2014: 45

55% of Germans feel that Chinese culture is very foreign. 47% of the Chinese say this about German culture. Nevertheless, German culture is popular in China. 65% of Chinese say they like German culture.
And 45% of the Chinese can even imagine living in Germany wholly or temporarily. The willingness to live in China for a while is much less common among Germans (16%).

Demographic development

Is China characterized by rapid population growth or a rapid aging of society?

China is characterized by rapid population growth.
China is characterized partly by rapid population growth and partly by the rapid aging of society.
China is characterized by a rapidly aging society.

Is Germany characterized by rapid population growth or a rapid aging of society?

Germany is characterized by rapid population growth.
Germany is characterized partly by rapid population growth and partly by the rapid aging of society.
Germany is characterized by a rapidly aging society.

More than half of Germans believe that China is characterized by rapid population growth. Only one in four (26%) knows about the demographic aging of Chinese society. This is also shown by the spontaneous associations with China, in which “population growth” is named as the second most frequent association.

In contrast, the Chinese are far better informed about demographic developments in Germany. 67% of those surveyed know that German society is aging rapidly.

Education system in international comparison

What is the position of China's education system in an international comparison?

China occupies a top position in the international educational competition.
China occupies a leading position in the international education competition, in some cases it lags behind.
China is lagging behind in international educational competition.

What position does Germany's education system hold in an international comparison?

Germany occupies a top position in the international educational competition.
In the international education competition, Germany partly holds a top position, partly it lags behind.
Germany lags behind in the international educational competition.

81% of the Chinese believe that Germany occupies a top position in the international education competition.

54% of Germans place the Chinese education system in one of the top ranks. Two thirds of Germans (68%) believe that the Chinese education system has a positive effect on China's competitiveness.