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With a $2 Billion Factory From China, a German City Lets Others Worry

来源:纽约时报    2019-09-05 09:52

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        ARNSTADT, Germany — Officials in Brussels or Berlin may fret about China’s growing sway over the European economy, about the ports under its control and the high-tech firms that Chinese firms have acquired. But that is not a concern one hears in Arnstadt, a Baroque-era German hamlet where, long ago, Johann Sebastian Bach was the church organist.        德国阿恩施塔特——中国对欧洲经济影响力日渐增强,港口被中国控制,高科技公司被中国公司收购,这些可能令布鲁塞尔或柏林的官员感到不安。但在阿恩施塔特,这个约翰·塞巴斯蒂安·巴赫曾经担任教堂管风琴师的巴洛克时代德国村庄,你听不到这样的担忧。
        It is difficult to find anyone in the city of 28,000 who is not happy, even euphoric, that a Chinese company plans to invest more than $2 billion to build a battery plant in an open field on the outskirts of town.        在这个有2.8万人口的地方,一家中国公司计划投资20多亿美元在郊外空地兴建电池厂的消息,几乎让所有人感到高兴甚至是狂喜。
        The project, by Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd., better known as CATL, is believed to be the biggest example yet of a Chinese company’s choosing to build a factory from the ground up in the European Union, rather than buy an existing business.        由宁德时代新能源科技公司(Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd.,简称CATL)投资的这一项目,被认为是迄今为止中国企业选择在欧盟境内新建工厂而非收购现有企业的最显著案例。
        Perhaps no place better illuminates Europe’s ambivalence toward Chinese investment, which could be summed up as: Fear the power, love the money.        或许没有哪个地方比欧洲更能说明对中国投资的矛盾心理了,总结起来就是:怕它的势力,爱它的钱。
        There was an outcry in 2016 when a Chinese company bought Kuka, a German maker of industrial robots, and alarm early last year when a Chinese investor bought nearly 10 percent of Daimler, the German auto giant. The acquisitions inspired new laws giving European Union members more power to scrutinize foreign investment.        2016年一家中国公司收购德国工业机器人制造商库卡曾引发强烈抗议,去年年初,一家中国投资方收购德国汽车巨头戴姆勒(Daimler)10%的股份再度拉响警报。这些收购促使新法律出台,给欧盟成员国更多审查外国投资的权力。
        But when CATL announced last summer that it had chosen an industrial zone in Arnstadt known as Erfurter Kreuz for the factory, which will supply companies like Volvo and BMW with batteries for electric cars, leaders including Chancellor Angela Merkel jostled to take credit.        但当CATL去年夏天宣布,已选定在称为埃尔福特克鲁兹(Erfurter Kreuz)的阿恩施塔特一片工业区建厂,工厂将为沃尔沃(Volvo)和宝马(BMW)这类公司供应电动车电池,包括德国总理安格拉·默克尔(Angela Merkel)在内的领导人争相表示是自己的功劳。
        Proponents argue that the CATL project represents a new, more benign phase in China’s emergence as an economic superpower. Instead of acquiring European technology or gobbling up an iconic brand like Volvo, a Chinese company is bringing its own cutting-edge know-how.        支持者称,CATL项目代表着中国崛起为超级经济大国一个更良性的新阶段。比起收购欧洲技术或吞噬沃尔沃这样的标志性品牌,一家中国公司将带来自身的尖端技术。
        And instead of destroying industrial jobs in Europe with cheap labor, German officials say, a Chinese firm is creating 2,000. That argument is especially compelling as recession looms and the German job market is showing the first signs of weakness.        德国官员还表示,中国非但没有用廉价劳动力破坏欧洲工业就业机会,反而将创造2000个岗位。在经济衰退迫近、德国就业市场开始出现疲软迹象之际,这是个非常吸引人的说法。
        “What we are doing is exactly the opposite of Kuka,” said Wolfgang Tiefensee, economics minister in Thuringia, the state that includes Arnstadt.        “我们所做的,和库卡的案例恰恰相反,”阿恩施塔特所属的图林根州经济部长沃尔夫冈·蒂芬泽(Wolfgang Tiefensee)说。
        Mr. Tiefensee was so intent on luring CATL that, soon after hearing in 2017 that the company was looking for a site in Europe, he jumped on a flight to visit its headquarters in Ningde, a coastal city in Fujian Province, for a personal pitch.        蒂芬泽如此决意要吸引CATL,以至于2017年听说该公司在欧洲寻址不久即搭上一趟班机,赶到位于福建省沿海城市宁德的总部亲自做说服工作。
        “We are enabling the transfer of battery technology from China to Europe,” Mr. Tiefensee, a former German transportation minister, said in an interview at his office in Erfurt, the state capital. “It’s a completely new form of cooperation.”        “我们正在推动电池技术从中国向欧洲转移,”前德国交通部长蒂芬泽在他位于州首府埃尔福特的办公室接受采访时说。“这是一种全新的合作形式。”
        Some analysts warn that China is pursuing a darker agenda, that CATL is part of a state-sponsored drive to dominate a strategically important technology. Batteries can account for about half the cost of an electric car. As electric vehicles become increasingly common, whoever commands the battery business will rule the auto industry.        一些分析人士警告,中国背后的意图就没那么良好了,即CATL是通过国家支持主导战略性技术的行动的一部分。电池可能会占到一辆电动车造价的一半左右。随着电动车的日益普及,谁掌握了电池业务,谁就将统治汽车行业。
        Leaders in Arnstadt say geopolitical concerns are above their pay grade. They are looking forward to the tax revenue that CATL will generate, which will help build kindergartens and public swimming pools, and to a chance to be at the center of an important industry.
        The mayor, Frank Spilling, said he was well aware of China’s attempts to expand its influence worldwide and of accusations of human-rights violations.        市长弗兰克·施皮勒(Frank Spilling)说,他很清楚中国试图扩大其在世界范围内的影响力,也很清楚中国遭到侵犯人权的指控。
        “It’s not my job to talk about that,” Mr. Spilling said on a day when the police in Hong Kong were battling pro-democracy protesters. “My job is to improve the city. The rest is at a different level. Even if I was critical, I doubt anyone would care.”        “这不是我的工作,”施皮勒在香港警察殴打该市亲民主抗议者的同一天说道。“我的工作是改善这座城市。其他任何事都不能与之相提并论。即使我提出批评,我也怀疑是否有人在乎。”
        His view is echoed across the political spectrum. “There is no resistance” to the project, said Jan Kobel, a photographer and hotel owner who represents the Green Party in the Arnstadt City Council. “Everyone is welcoming it.”        他的观点得到了政界的广泛赞同。这个项目“没有遇到阻力”,阿恩施塔特市议会绿党的代表、摄影师兼酒店老板延·科贝尔(Jan Kobel)说。“所有人都欢迎它。”
        There are murmurs of frustration by Mr. Kobel and others that CATL has provided Arnstadt officials with only bare-bones information about its plans, even as the scope of the project grows at a head-spinning rate.        科贝尔等人也有一些不满,称CATL只向阿恩施塔特的官员提供了有关计划的基本信息,尽管该项目的规模正在以令人目眩的速度扩大。
        Initially, the company planned to invest 240 million euros in the factory, but as orders have rolled in, that investment has grown to €1.8 billion, or $2 billion, according to local news reports that CATL has not disputed. Production is expected to start next year.        起初,该公司计划投资2.4亿欧元,但据当地新闻报道,随着订单滚滚而来,投资已增至18亿欧元,约合20亿美元。预计明年开始生产。
        “It’s coming so quickly,” said Judith Rüber, who is married to Mr. Kobel and was formerly the leader of the Left Party in Arnstadt. “It will be interesting to see whether we can manage to integrate it into the community.”        “来得太快了,”科贝尔的妻子、曾任阿恩施塔特左翼党领袖的尤蒂特·鲁贝尔(Judith Rüber)说。“看看我们能否设法将其融入社区,这会是个值得注意的地方。”
        A CATL spokeswoman declined to answer questions about why the company had chosen Arnstadt, or about anything else, saying the company would disclose more at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt this month.        CATL的一位发言人拒绝回答有关该公司为何选择阿恩斯塔德的问题,也拒绝回答其他任何问题。她说,该公司将在本月法兰克福国际汽车展(International Motor Show)上披露更多信息。
        A few CATL executives, both Asian and European, have been spotted at the Stadtbrauerei Arnstadt, a brewery and hotel that advertises that it is the birthplace of Weizenbier, or wheat beer. (It is not the only place to make that claim.) But municipal officials say they have had only sporadic contact with CATL representatives.        有人看到几位亚洲和欧洲的CATL高管出现在阿恩施塔特啤酒坊(Stadtbrauerei Arnstadt),一家自称是小麦啤酒诞生地的酒厂兼酒店。(不止一家厂提出了这个说法。)但市政官员表示,他们只与CATL的代表有过零星接触。
        CATL has also taken over a large glass-and-steel complex near the construction site that was once used to manufacture solar cells. The previous occupant, SolarWorld, went out of business in part because of low-cost competition from China.        CATL还接管了建筑工地附近的一个曾用于制造太阳能电池的大型钢铁玻璃建筑群,这里的前一家公司SolarWorld已经倒闭,部分原因是来自中国的低成本竞争。
        There was little sign of life at the complex recently. Weeds sprouted between paving stones in a parking lot with a handful of cars. When a New York Times reporter and photographer appeared unannounced, Constance Ulbrich, a CATL employee, was cordial but said she was not authorized to answer questions or allow photos.        最近,这里几乎没有生命迹象。铺着石板的停车场里有几辆车,四周杂草丛生。当《纽约时报》的记者和摄影师突然造访时,CATL的员工康斯坦斯·乌尔布里希(Constance Ulbrich)表现得很热情,但表示自己无权回答问题或允许拍照。
        CATL has been so low-key, said Eberhardt Pfeiffer, a retired newspaper reporter who writes a blog about Arnstadt, that most local people have not really grasped the magnitude of the project or considered the implications.        退休的报纸记者埃伯哈特·法伊弗(Eberhardt Pfeiffer)写了一篇关于阿恩斯塔德的博客,他说,CATL一直非常低调,以至于大多数当地人都没有真正理解这个项目的规模,也没有考虑它的影响。
        “From my point of view,” Mr. Pfeiffer said over coffee at a cafe in the town square, which has changed little since Bach’s time, “it’s not perceived as much as it should be.”        “从我的角度来看,”法伊弗在市镇广场的一家咖啡馆喝咖啡时说,“人们对它的认知没有达到应有的程度。”

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