When Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Germany earlier this month to highlight key cooperative efforts around technology and innovation, he was joined by a group of business executives among which was Cao Kebo, a Wuxi entrepreneur who for years has striven to forge business partnerships with German companies.
As president and CEO of Wuxi-based Jiangnan Mold & Plastic Technology Co., Cao was invited to speak at a bilateral forum on innovation and cooperation which was attended by both Chinese Premier Li and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Berlin on June 1. Cao took the opportunity to describe the business relationship between his company and German auto giant BMW.
Although Cao's company may not have drawn the attention of China's big hitters such as Alibaba or Huawei, with over 20 years of experience in Sino-German relations the auto-related company certain holds authority when it comes to understanding the importance of such a cooperative endeavor.
Born in 1969, Cao started work at 18 before spending 15 years studying in Germany. The experience gave him a deep understanding of the country's auto industry and allowed him to forge a successful business venture that can boast an annual output volume that exceeds 3 million.
Cao believes investing enterprises should also bear a social responsibility and consequently initiated the Düsseldorf China Center in 2005, which acts a cultural bridge of exchange between the two countries. Upon Merkel's visit to Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, two years later, the pair met and discussed the progress of the project.
In recent years, Cao has remained on hand during negotiations between the two sides and in 2014 he was met by President Xi Jinping who expressed his appreciation for the positive role Cao continues to play in the economic and cultural exchanges between two nations.
"The friendly exchange between China and Germany has really ushered in a new era," Cao noted before expressing his feeling of fortune at having met President Xi and Premier Li in just the same year.
In 2015, Cao made a deal with BMW to set up supporting plants in Mexico and he noted that the president encouraged him to increase investment in a third country along with German counterparts.
The partnership has continued to flourish as the mold and plastic technology company promised to set a subsidiary in the US providing auto parts for BMW, an agreement that was fulfilled last year.
Apart from the auto business, Cao has also brought top medical resources to China with the establishment of Wuxi Mingci Cardiovascular Hospital, a €100 million project cooperatively launched with German heart clinic Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine.
Currently, as an ambassador of North Rhine-Westphalia, a German province, the entrepreneur has been active on the lecture podium spreading the image of Germany's most populous region from his own perspective, a role he relishes.