No other place in Germany bridges the old and the new quite like Munich. Home to several family-owned businesses, this Bavarian city is known for producing quality beer and writing instruments, as well as its dynamic business network.
Paulaner has been a huge source of pride for the city’s residents. Since 1634, the company has beer that has since become world famous and synonymous with Bavaria. To date, the brand has more than
1,300 breweries in Germany, the largest of which is located in Munich.
“We’re more than just a small local brewery. We sell our beer all over the world, in 80 countries to be exact, and have strong growth in international markets, such as Asia,” said Paulaner CEO Roland Tobias.
Paulaner has established a presence in China and South Korea and is rebuilding its brewery in Singapore. Under a new franchising model, the company is looking for other highly-motivated counterparts in Asia who are interested in introducing the brand to a younger market in the region.
“We are very enthusiastic about our brand and in bringing the heritage and beer culture that we have to many people in Asia,” Tobias said.
Another global firm with deep roots in Munich is Staedtler. For more than 350 years, the writing instruments manufacturer has been associated with innovation. As one of the oldest industrial firms in Germany, it continues to develop new products, from the very first black lead pencil to colored pencils, PVC-free erasers, fiber tip pens, wooden-case pencils and most recently, its patented concrete pens.
Amid this anti-digitalization trend of returning to analog, the company remains an open adapter of change. It has partnered with Samsung and is in talks with Google to develop digital products.
“It is of utmost importance to us to be at the edge of the development,” CEO Axel Marx said.
Currently, Asia accounts for 20 percent of the company’s sales and is projected to generate between 25 and 30 percent in the medium term.
“Asia is a real brickstone of Staedtler,” Axel stressed.
Staedtler has been present in the region since 1926 and continues to expand in countries, such as Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea. After opening a store in Hong Kong recently, the company is slated to open a new store in Macau at the end of the year.
Dr. Eberhard Sasse, President of IHK Munich, highlights this strong relationship between Germany and Asia. His organization, the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce Munich, works closely with German companies and foreign chambers of commerce to discuss the challenges of doing business abroad.
IHK Munich also networks with Asian firms and promotes investment opportunities in Germany’s automotive, ICT, OEM, aerospace and medical sectors, among others.
“We have to work together. That is very important,” Sasse said.