Germany's economy minister has called for an international ''level playing field'' in foreign investment amid concerns over rising Chinese interest in German firms. As Maryam Behmard reports, it follows a $5 bln offer last month from China's Midea Group to buy Kuka Robotics.
This robotic arm is not just good at playing ping pong, It's the leading technology behind Germany's robust industrial manufacturing sector. And the latest target of foreign ownership. China's Midea Group offered more than 5 billion dollars to buy Kuka Robotics last month. But the Chinese heavy weight is facing fierce opposition from German officials. Known for its cutting edge technology, Kuka is the world's largest manufacturer of robotics, at the very core of Germany's success. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET STRATEGIST, BGC BROKERS, SAYING: "One of the reasons that German economy has done well is excellence in various fields such as engineering and specialty chemicals, and what Germany certainly wouldn't want to see was that know how being transferred to China. And then for the manufacturing base and all the employment that goes along with it to be gutted from Germany." China is the fastest growing and largest robotics market in the world, making this contract a highly lucrative asset... Despite rumblings that the German finance minister would BLOCK the bid, the government denies interference... but Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is trying to coordinate a counter offer for Kuka, (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "What we can't do is sacrifice German companies and German jobs on the altar of open markets when in reality there isn't a level playing field. Open markets require the same rules of the game." Investing more abroad could open the gateway to China's vast market, but that will come at a cost, if Germany wants to be the first to lend a hand.