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Our Clients/Partners: Companies under German law

May 15, 2007 - by Patrick Waize

Whenever meeting a German global player on the market, either as a client or as a trade partner, it most likely takes a corporate form. This article shall give a background about what you are dealing with when meeting a German corporation.

Most German businesses investing abroad or engaging in international trade operate as corporations. When dealing with German corporations, it might be interesting to know briefly about the legal background and legal structure of these entities. This, for example, could help to find out who is in charge there and where decision-making takes place.

German corporate law is surprisingly easy and well structured compared to other legal fields. In general, there are only two major types of corporation available under German law: A privately held company limited by shares (GmbH) and a publicly held company limited by shares (AG). Both types are regulated by their own codes of law, the GmbH-code and the AG-code. Directly translated "Gesellschaft mit beschraenkter Haftung" (GmbH) means "company with limited liability". "Aktiengesellschaft" (AG) means "stock company". Additionally, there are some mixed forms and a "private limited partnership limited by shares", however, these forms are rarely used.

Both general types are independent legal entities with a corporate identity distinguishable from their shareholders' legal identities. This is an important issue for tax purposes because first the entity itself is taxed and second the shareholder is also taxed. (This does not apply to partnerships, which, under German law, are not subject to taxation. Instead, only the partners are subject to taxation) The shareholders of both GmbHs and AGs are ...

General 0 Comment May 24, 2007, 11:28 am

New Energy for China!

May 24, 2007 - by Patrick Waize

China's booming economy is addicted to cheap energy. Considering the current growth of business in Shanghai for example, the need of electricity grows at least as fast as the local economy is growing.

Unfortunately, China's power-generating capacities are limited by rather old power plants, which are mostly coal fueled. During hot summer times, when everyone wishes to use air conditioning all day, a lack of power capacity is almost unavoidable. Even enormous hydroelectric projects such as the "Three Gorges Dam" impounding the Yangtze River, will fill that gap only temporarily. Hydro power however, is at least a cleaner alternative regarding air pollution. Since air pollution became an issue, China is not only looking for cheap ways to generate electricity, but also for clean ways.

Thus, renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar power are destined to power China's economy of the future. Renewable energy technologies are clean, but they also have two major disadvantages: they are expensive and they require a high standard of technological knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, many avoid these sources because they overestimate their physical complexity, especially solar power and photovoltaic power. Photovoltaic power is based on a simple physical principle, which actually can be explained fairly simply.

Photovoltaic (PV) is a solar power technology that uses solar cells to convert light from the sun directly into electric energy. Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors such as silicon, which is currently the most common material used. Silicon is actually a poor conductor due to its atomic structure. A silicon atom has 14 electrons, arranged on 3 different shells. On the outer shell, there are only 4 electrons on each silicon atom, although it could hold 8 electrons. Therefore every silicon atom is looking for 4 other electrons to hold on its shell. To do this, it shares electrons with neighbor silicon atoms, until it reaches 8 electrons on its shell. This sharing action causes a crystalline silicon structure with very few free electrons. Free electrons, however, are needed as the "carrier" of an electric current. To get more free electrons, silicon for PV-cells is blended (doped) with a few phosphorous atoms. Phosphorus atoms have...

General 0 Comment May 24, 2007, 11:27 am

Food and Medicine Safety in China

May 16, 2007 - by Adam Feeney

Scandals involving tainted pet food and cough syrup exported from China have left people around the world wondering what they and their loved ones are putting into their bodies. This podcast looks at the Chinese and international reactions to these scandals.


Podcast 1 Comment May 21, 2007, 10:02 am

"Pollution and pollution-control" in China

May 14, 2007 - by Admin

This podcast is about "pollution and pollution-control" in China. This global issue becomes important more and more, also to China. We gathered some facts regarding the current situation and pointed out what China's government is going to do on that.

Podcast 0 Comment May 15, 2007, 7:00 pm