HOPPSTAEDTEN-WEIERSBACH, Germany (Reuters) – A tiny village nestled in the picturesque wooded Hunsrueck hills in western Germany is to become the unlikely home to several hundred Chinese companies hoping to conquer the European market.
Of the roughly 3,500 residents of Hoppstaedten-Weiersbach, about 800 are now Chinese and they have set up a business complex in a former U.S. army barracks called Oak Garden.
“I want to develop my products (in Germany),” said Chinese entrepreneur Zhixiong Peng.
He moved from Guangzhou in southern China four years ago with his family. His goal is to cooperate with German companies on mobile technology such as smart parking hoops.
Other Chinese who have moved to the village said they like the atmosphere.
“What I like is that the air quality is very good, and the work environment is pretty awesome. The work hours are also not considered too long,” said Chao Yang Liu, an employee for a company producing decorations and party items.
Almost 300 Chinese investors have settled here and they are building a huge complex of factories, offices and showrooms.
Andreas Scholz, who is German and one of the two founders and managing directors of the complex, said 30 million euros had so far been invested and the third building would be completed by the end of the year, ready for about 100 investors.
“The vision behind it was, in the end, for a total of 500 to 800 Chinese companies or even German companies,” he said.
Locals have welcomed the investment – the town gets 400,000 euros more in corporation tax – and the boost in the population.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Gareth Jones)