Frank Sieren is a correspondent, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker who has lived in China for a decade and a half. He is a columnist for HANDELSBLATT and writes regularly in DIE ZEIT. The LONDON TIMES calls him an “authoritative China expert in Germany”. Frank Sieren reports first-hand on the rise of China.

Lecture topics Frank Sieren

Future? China!
The new China: most important partner and toughest competitor. What makes the new superpower so successful? How much is Europe, even Germany, losing touch, economically as well as politically? The Middle Kingdom is ambitious, fast, innovative, well-organized, and no longer lets us dictate to it. For the first time in centuries, an Asian country is becoming a world power. Meanwhile, it is even challenging our values, which we consider universal. On every continent, the Chinese are investing in natural resources, infrastructure and key industries. They are also buying into Germany. How is China challenging us directly? What does the new superpower mean for us? China is both an opportunity and a threat for us. We underestimate China’s power. Already today, China has more influence on our lives than Google, Facebook & Co. Provocatively, vividly and personally, Frank Sieren describes to us how China is changing Germany.

Beijing is winning over more and more dissatisfied EU countries and thus hollowing out Europe. Brussels is already unable to speak with a unified voice to China. And while we cannot really weaken the Russians with ever stricter sanctions, at the same time we are driving them further and further into the arms of the Chinese. Beijing is amused by so much European shortsightedness.

China’s innovations
China is becoming more and more innovative at great speed. Artificial intelligence is the biggest focus here. The fourth industrial revolution, in which the Chinese are preparing to overtake the West, will change the world dramatically. And whoever is at the forefront will play a decisive role in determining the rules of the game of the new technological world order. In Germany, too.

China’s auto industry
With the development of the electric car, the Chinese are now taking the lead in a key German technology for the first time. This new technological world order has dramatic implications for us, the land of car companies, and for Germany’s “hidden champions.” Now the German auto industry is facing the greatest challenge in the history of the Federal Republic. Because China wants it that way, nothing in Germany will remain as it was.

The new power of Xi Jinping
As a key figure, China’s President Xi Jinping is simultaneously opening up China’s economy and harassing civil society: he is fighting corruption with all his might, expanding his power base, pushing environmental protection and perfecting the surveillance of the masses. Whether we like it or not, Xi is not only shaping China’s future. While we analyze and criticize him, he is also changing Germany.

China – From Copiers to Inventors
China is evolving from the world’s workbench to an inventor’s workshop. The days of copying are coming to an end, and the progress in creativity and innovation, in research and development, is enormous. The Chinese are thus attacking the core of the German economic miracle. China is once again on its way to becoming the innovation world power it once was centuries ago. A powerful new competitor is making life difficult for German SMEs.

The New Silk Road
Through this project, Beijing wants to move closer together with Europe, the rest of Asia and with Africa and, of course, systematically open up new growth markets – at the expense of the USA. With a total investment of one trillion euros, it is the world’s largest infrastructure project since the construction of the Great Wall. But Brussels is reluctant to take the outstretched hand.

China’s provocations in Asia
In Asia, China is closely entangled with the major geopolitical risk issues:The North Korean conflict and China’s provocations in the South China Sea. Even more than Syria and Ukraine, North Korea is one of the world’s biggest trouble spots, although surprisingly the situation there may yet ease. Without China, nothing works there anymore. This also applies to the disputed islands in the South China Sea. Nowhere is Beijing showing its new power more blatantly than there. But although China’s neighbors are coming under pressure, they are not calling for our help; instead, they have their own ideas about how to survive in China’s shadow.

The Power Struggle: China-USA
China, as a rising world power, is playing the still incumbent world power, the United States, ever more skillfully. It is the great geostrategic power struggle of the beginning 21st century. Whereas in the past wars were waged to fight the battles, today the conflicts are fought out in the realm of economics: with trade and patent wars, corporate takeovers, currency rivalries and the bidding war for mineral resources. What is amazing is that the Chinese have long had a good plan and all the time in the world, while the West acts frantically and haphazardly.

At stake is nothing less than the world’s last great growth market: Africa, whose economic boom is fueled largely by China. While we are still thinking about building wells and distributing development aid according to the watering-can principle, China sees a continent on the leap into the 21st century. It is already clear: Europe will have a hard time without Africa.

With his SPIEGEL bestseller “Der China Code – Wie das boomende Reich der Mitte Deutschland verändert” (The China Code – How the Booming Middle Kingdom is Changing Germany), he has “initiated a long-overdue debate,” commented STERN. The book was translated into five languages, including Chinese. A heavily censored version appeared in the People’s Republic and an uncensored version in Taiwan. In September 2011, Sieren presented his latest analysis of China, “Fear of China.” “Gripping and at the same time rich in facts,” was the verdict of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Frank Sieren’s analyses also convinced Helmut Schmidt. The former German chancellor allowed the author insight into the previously unpublished transcripts of his numerous conversations with Chinese leaders. Helmut Schmidt was the last living German to have met Mao. The book “Neighboring China” emerged from these unique experiences in conversation with Sieren. Immediately after its publication it was placed on the bestseller lists and has also been published in Chinese.

Frank Sieren also deals with the dramatic global changes in documentary films.

His 45-minute ZDF reportage “Und ewig lockt das Öl – Chinas Griff nach Afrika”, was broadcast in 2007 on the occasion of the G8 summit and achieved a market share of over 10 percent. His film “Peking Opera on the Persian Carpet”, about the complicated relationship between China and Iran, also ran successfully on ZDF in the fall of 2008. In the summer of 2009, Frank Sieren produced the documentary “Chinese in Porsche Fever – A Black Forest Journey with Up-and-Comers” for SWR. Most recently, ZDF showed his film “Nähen bis zum Umfallen? – mit deutschen Prüfern in Asien unterwegs” (“On the road with German inspectors in Asia”), in which he gets to the bottom of the question of working conditions in Asian factories. In February 2012, ARD broadcast his “Länder, Menschen, Abenteuer” documentary “Im Steppenwind.” The film tells the story of a Chinese-Mongolian ultralight pilot in Inner Mongolia who documents the changes in his changing homeland with impressive aerial photographs.

Frank Sieren is also the host of the Beijing-produced international talk show “Asiatalk” in German and English, which was broadcast on DW-TV.

Back in 2008, “Der China-Schock – Wie Peking sich die Welt gefügig macht” (The China Shock – How Beijing is Making the World Compliant) was published, which also made it onto the Spiegel bestseller list. “A brilliant book,” notes the SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, and the FINANCIAL TIMES DEUTSCHLAND praises: “Frank Sieren pleasantly stands out from the competition. He doesn’t fall for numbers porn (‘ten percent growth – in one month’), but analyzes China’s global strategies. Sieren’s narrative style is solid and unpretentious. A reportage from the front lines of the global economy.” China Shock” landed at No. 1 on the German bestseller list for business books.