Whether we are heading for a world divided in two, as the editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche predicts, remains to be seen. But it is becoming apparent that the role of business in dealing with authoritarian regimes will become much more prominent. This applies in particular to dealings with China.
l. Those who sang the high praises in the past regarding the importance of exports, even to authoritarian states like Russia, will have a much harder time arguing the same point in the future. China puts people in re-education camps, harasses minorities, suppresses any form of free expression and holds all the reins tightly. In February, the new German government called China a “systemic rival” and demanded that it reduce its economic dependence on China. This is a clear signal to the business community and at the same time a hint for corporate communications to take a closer look at the supply chain and export business with totalitarian states and to prepare for the critical media inquiries which will surely follow.