What do the Chinese think of China

: Huawei study China-Germany: This is how the Chinese think of Germans about each other

Berlin - If you ask a Chinese which German personality comes to mind first, the most common answer is: Adolf Hitler. If you ask Germans what their first inspiration for a Chinese person is, 54 percent answer: Mao Zedong. The two dictators are well ahead of the current heads of government Xi Jinping and Angela Merkel.

This is just one of the many results of the Huawei study 2016 on the mutual perception of Chinese and Germans, which was presented on Thursday in Berlin. The Chinese telecommunications group Huawei and the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) are primarily responsible for the study. Around 2,600 people from China and Germany were interviewed on the topics of politics, economy, society and culture.

The Chinese have a positive image of Germany

The results are not surprising in many areas and in some cases reveal prejudices. Overall, the study shows that Germany has a much more positive image among the Chinese than China among the Germans. In terms of the political system, 70 percent of Germans have a negative image of China. However, 74 percent of the Chinese see Germany positively. The assessment of economic issues is more balanced, but still asymmetrical. More Chinese and Germans consider the economic relations between the two countries to be more important than those with the USA. However, the Chinese were not asked explicitly about Germany, but about all of Europe. Overall, Germans are less worried about China's “economic strength” than they were in 2014, which the authors of the study attribute to China's declining economic growth. In addition, the prevailing opinion in Germany is that China is copying Western products instead of being innovative. However, this “only partially corresponds to reality”, according to the study. In China, German products are rated as innovative by a large majority.

One focus of the study this year is on the areas of digitization and digital innovation. The results show that the Germans have a fairly realistic picture of China here. 84 percent rate the Chinese attitude towards digital innovations as positive, and 74 percent believe that the Chinese see the benefits rather than the dangers of this development. That corresponds pretty exactly to the self-assessment of the Chinese. The Chinese, on the other hand, assume that the Germans are similarly knitted.

But they are much more skeptical about themselves: a third of those surveyed attribute a rather negative attitude towards digital innovations to their own population. In addition, more than half assume that these are viewed as more of a danger in Germany. 60 percent of Germans fear that jobs will be lost as a result of digitization. The majority of Chinese believe the opposite. In addition, the majority of Germans refuse to pass on personal data about their own driving behavior or health to car or health insurance companies - over 60 percent of the Chinese are willing to do so.

Little need for privacy in China

In China, there is a "tendency to be carefree," says the study. The reasons for the different attitudes towards data protection and privacy are to be found, among other things, in cultural differences. In the collectivist Chinese culture, the need for privacy is fundamentally lower. Interestingly, 47 percent of the Chinese surveyed would not give their children a smartphone until they were over 15 years old. For Germans, on average, that's okay from the age of 12.9.