The AsiaBerlin Summit 2023 commenced with an opening speech by the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Kai Wegner, at the historic Red Town Hall. The summit, formerly known as the Asia Pacific weeks, has returned to its roots in Rotes Rathaus after a hiatus since 2011. Mayor Wegner expressed his delight at continuing this tradition and emphasized the importance of building strong connections between Berlin and Asia’s vibrant startup ecosystems. The focus of this year’s summit revolves around Mobility and Logistics, Energy Transition and Green Technology, and Artificial Intelligence, all aimed at securing a livable future for the planet.
Building Strong Ties in Mobility and Logistics:
Mayor Wegner highlighted the significance of addressing mobility issues, particularly in urban areas, with an emphasis on creating people-friendly and ecologically sustainable transportation systems. Berlin, with its excellent potential for international cooperation, has attracted key stakeholders such as Mercedes, Tesla, and other startup hubs such as The Drivery and MotionLab to contribute to the development of smart and sustainable mobility solutions.
Driving Climate Action through Energy Transition and Green Tech:
The Berlin Senate’s top priority of climate action was underscored by Mayor Wegner, who acknowledged the role of cities as both major contributors to fossil fuel consumption and innovative hubs for developing solutions. The Berlin Energy cluster and numerous green tech companies eagerly anticipate collaboration with their Asian counterparts, aiming to accelerate the transition to clean energy and sustainable technologies.
Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence:
Mayor Wegner recognized the pervasive influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across various industries and applauded Berlin’s role as Germany’s and Europe’s AI hubs. Notably, the Asia Berlin Summit’s partner, Merantics AI campus, along with the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence and the KI Park, contribute to Berlin’s AI ecosystem. Mayor Wegner highlighted the Asia Berlin Forum’s president, Dr. Feiyu Xu, who has established a strong AI division in SAP, demonstrating the city’s appeal for Asian players in AI development and application.
Promoting Collaboration with Asian Partners:
Mayor Wegner emphasized the significance of cooperation with Asian partners, highlighting Hong Kong as a strong partner for innovation and startups, acting as a gateway to mainland China. He also acknowledged India’s representation at the summit, citing its expanding cooperation with Berlin, particularly in Bengaluru and Mumbai. The mayor expressed enthusiasm for growing collaboration with Japanese startups, especially in Tokyo, as well as focusing on Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Berlin’s Appeal as a European Startup Destination:
Mayor Wegner outlined Berlin’s advantages as a destination for Asian startups and investors seeking a European foothold. Access to the European single market, attractive living conditions, and relatively affordable office and production space make Berlin an appealing choice. The city’s international and diverse ecosystem, fostered by the widespread use of English, positions it favorably when compared to other European cities.
Acknowledgments and Conclusion:
Mayor Wegner expressed gratitude to the main sponsors of the summit, including the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Mitsubishi Electric, and Siemens. He also thanked the organizers, Asia Berlin Forum, the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy, and Public Enterprises, and the Asia Berlin Ambassadors for their invaluable contributions to the success of the summit. Mayor Wegner concluded by encouraging attendees to engage in fruitful discussions, hoping that the summit would inspire concrete projects and foster continued cooperation to drive economic growth and achieve meaningful social and ecological impact.
In summary, the AsiaBerlin Summit 2023, under the leadership of Mayor Kai Wegner, brings together Berlin and Asian stakeholders to explore innovative solutions in mobility, energy transition, and artificial intelligence. The summit not only strengthens ties between Berlin and Asia but also promotes collaboration toward creating a sustainable and prosperous future for all.