Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a German multinational mass media corporation founded in 1835, based in Gütersloh, Germany. The company operates in 50 countries and employs in excess of 104,000 . In 2012 the company reported a €16.065 billion consolidated revenue and an operating EBIT of €1.735 billion. Its principal divisions are Penguin Random House, RTL Group, Gruner + Jahr, Arvato, Be Printers and BMG.Bertelsmann is a privately held Kommanditgesellschaft auf Aktien . 80.9 percent of the capital shares in Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA are held indirectly by foundations , and 19.1 percent are held indirectly by the Mohn family. Wikipedia.
News Article | April 17, 2017
The Bertelsmann researchers have found that the general attitude among Germans to migration remains positive with 74% saying migrants are welcome and 59% stating the same about refugees. Nevertheless, the pro-migrant sentiment seems to be waning in the country. For the first time since the start of the refugee crisis and influx of migrants, the majority of German citizens believes that the country has reached its limit on newcomers - this figure has risen up to 54 percent. This rise from only 40 percent in 2015 shows an increasing skepticism among the citizens of Germany about accepting more newcomers, and threatens the continuing success of Angela Merkel's Willkommenspolitik. Other figures show more uncertainty on the issue of immigration, with 65% regarding it as a positive process when taking into account Germany's aging population, 60% taking stance against anti-immigrant discrimination, yet 97% stating that they wish newcomers made more of an effort on their way to integration. Jörg Dräger, Bertelsmann Foundation CEO, was quoted by Jep News as saying: "The people of Germany are looking back self-assuredly on having warmly received so many refugees. But they also say that other countries should step up to the plate".
News Article | May 1, 2017
Google and Facebook attracted one-fifth of global advertising spending last year, nearly double the figure of five years ago, research shows. Online advertising has overtaken television to become the world’s largest ad medium, according to data and analysis agency Zenith. Twitter is the fastest-growing media owner, increasing ad revenue by 734% between 2012 and 2016. Internet-only media companies are grabbing the biggest slices of the online advertising market, while traditional news publishers have fallen far behind and been forced to make cutbacks. Google, owned by parent company Alphabet, is by far the biggest media owner in the world and attracted $79.4bn (£61.5bn) in ad revenues in 2016, three times more than the second-largest, Facebook, which pulled in $26.9bn, according to Zenith. The previous year, Alphabet took $67.4bn of ad revenues and Facebook $17.1bn. Together, the two companies accounted for nearly 20% of global advertising spending last year, up from 16.3% in 2015 and 10.6% in 2012. The largest traditional media owner is US broadcasting and cable television company Comcast, which was third with $12.9bn in ad revenues in 2016, up from $11.5bn the year before. Despite its large share of the ad market, Google faces a growing boycott from major advertisers including the UK government, Marks & Spencer and McDonald’s, and has promised an overhaul of its advertising policies. Many of the companies involved in the boycott discovered their advertising spend was being used to place banner ads over YouTube videos from groups such as Britain First, indirectly funding extremists. Digital platforms funded by internet ads dominate the top 30. Aside from Alphabet and Facebook, there are five pure internet media owners in the ranking: Baidu, Microsoft, Yahoo, Verizon and Twitter. Between them, the seven digital platforms generated $132.8bn of internet ad revenues in 2016, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all internet ad spend, and nearly one-quarter of total ad spending. Verizon became a media owner in 2015 when it bought AOL, and is set to become a much larger one when it acquires Yahoo later this year, which will catapult the wireless telecommunications group from 21st to sixth. Most of the media owners in the ranking – 20 out of 30 – are based in the US. The US dominates for several reasons: it has the biggest ad market, US companies have invested the most in extending their reach abroad and Silicon Valley innovation has powered the growth of internet advertising. China and Germany each have three media owners in the ranking: Baidu, Tencent and CCTV for China, and Bertelsmann, ProSiebenSat.1 and Axel Springer for Germany. There are four countries with one media owner each: the UK (ITV), France (JCDecaux), Brazil (Grupo Globo) and Italy (Mediaset). Jonathan Barnard, the head of forecasting at Zenith, said: “Zenith’s new ranking demonstrates just how much the internet advertising platforms are setting the pace for global ad spend growth. Google and Facebook alone have accounted for almost two-thirds of global ad spend growth since 2012.”
News Article | April 24, 2017
LUXEMBOURG, 24-Apr-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — RTL Group officially inaugurated its new headquarters, henceforth to be known as ‘RTL City’. Set just a short walk away from the former premises, it has been designed to house the Group’s Luxembourgish activities. About 130 Luxembourg personalities attended the event. Political figures who honoured the event with their presence included, among others, Viviane Reding, Member of the European Parliament and former Vice-President of the European Commission; Francine Closener, Secretary of State for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Secretary of State for Economy, Secretary of State for Internal and Mars Di Bartoloméo, President of the Chamber of Deputies. Distinguished project-related guests were also present. The RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg presenter Marie Galès opened the ceremony before leaving the floor to Elmar Heggen, CFO of RTL Group and Head of the Corporate Centre, then to Thomas Rabe, CEO of Bertelsmann and Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTL Group. In conclusion, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who was not able to attend the event, sent a video message that was broadcast to the gathering. Following the speeches, the guests enjoyed a guided tour through the new buildings to view the new premises, including the TV and Radio studios, the editing room, the office areas, and the large conference room on the 14th floor, overlooking Luxembourg City and the surrounding forest. Elmar Heggen, CFO of RTL Group and Head of the Corporate Centre, says: “With these modern premises and the renewal of the concession agreement, we can state that what is true for Luxembourg is also true for our Group: we have a proud past, a vibrant present, and a promising future.” Thomas Rabe, CEO of Bertelsmann and Chairman of the Board of Directors of RTL Group, says: “RTL Group has never been in a better shape – it has never made a better impression quite literally. The new building is modern, it is state of the art, it is efficient. Attributes which also apply to RTL Group and its businesses which once again achieved record results in 2016 as presented at the Annual General Meeting today.” Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, says in a video message: “RTL Group is an important player worldwide and we are proud and of course satisfied that RTL Group has shown its commitment to Luxembourg as a global media centre by building this new headquarters in our capital. The concept of this building is very innovative and inspiring – an ideal environment for a company that continuously has to reinvent itself. Congratulations on the start of a new era!”
News Article | December 1, 2016
VIENNA, 01-Dec-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced the launch and general availability of career site builder, which brings simple, consumer-style website design, creation and management to human resource (HR) and recruiting professionals. As part of the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution, career site builder enables the rapid deployment and easy maintenance of responsive career sites. This announcement was made at SuccessConnect, taking place November 28–29 in Vienna. “Companies around the world understand that every interaction reflects their brand and employee experience,” said David Ludlow, group vice president of Solution Management at SAP SuccessFactors.* “Today’s job seekers won’t tolerate painful processes. With SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, we help our customers along their entire talent acquisition journey — sourcing candidates across the globe, engaging and nurturing top candidates, and simplifying the hiring process. What I love about career site builder is that it is a beautiful reflection of what the cloud brings — simplicity, ease of use and great user experiences. We talk a lot about the burdens of overcustomization. These tools prove you don’t need to go down that path to provide a personalized, branded site that will help you deliver better outcomes for the business more quickly.” According to Deloitte, nearly two-thirds** of active candidates search for jobs on mobile devices, and 40 percent*** of candidates apply on mobile devices. With career site builder, recruiters can now be equipped with a content management system for career sites, enabling them to create mobile-friendly career sites quickly and painlessly, and make subsequent site edits and reorganizations with ease. The intuitive design and self-service capabilities help recruiters with minimal technical background up-level their career sites and gain flexibility in their talent acquisition strategies. “Career site builder is a much needed and welcomed enhancement to the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution, improving the candidate experience and building upon the mobile-apply journey at the point of first engagement,” said Miodrag Perin, senior director of Corporate HR Strategy & Systems at Bertelsmann. “Thanks to ease of use and ability to configure and deploy quickly, we are able to scale faster and react in a more agile way than ever before on our rollout process. As we proceed on the journey to gradual global deployment, having a single platform that can deliver the ‘GLOBALOCAL’ experience by balancing the functionalities needed by local businesses with the platform demands of an enterprise organization is a key strength and enabler to our rapidly growing and changing recruiting world at Bertelsmann and our divisions.” Benefits to the new career site builder capabilities within SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Marketing include: SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting helps organizations source, engage and hire the world’s best talent by providing comprehensive job posting, marketing and management across the entire candidate lifecycle. As part of the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite, SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting can help companies address any type of talent acquisition need including filling talent gaps for immediate hiring needs and building a talent pipeline for strategic growth. For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SuccessFactors and @sapnews. *SAP SuccessFactors is a new brand name launched in January 2016 and is used here to mean the offerings, employees, and business of acquired company SuccessFactors, which continues to be our legal entity until integration with SAP is complete. **Bersin by Deloitte, “Predictions for 2014: Building a Strong Talent Pipeline for the Global Economic Recovery – Time for Innovative and Integrated Talent and HR Strategies” by Josh Bersin, December 2013. ***Bersin by Deloitte, “Why Reputations and Networks Matter in the Open Talent Economy” by Stacia Garr, September 2013. Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates. Top image via Shutterstock
News Article | November 17, 2016
BREUKELEN, Nederland, 17 november 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- SiteSpect Inc. maakt vandaag bekend dat het een samenwerking aangaat met RTL Nederland door digitale optimalisatiediensten aan te bieden voor nog sterkere digitale groei van het mediabedrijf. RTL Nederland, een dochter van RTL Group, is gevestigd in Hilversum en eigenaar van de vrij toegankelijke TV-stations RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8 en RTL Z. Dankzij digitale activiteiten als het terugkijkplatform RTLXL, het digitale weerplatform Buienradar, SVOD platform Videoland, het grootste Multi Channel Network in entertainment en de nieuwsplatforms RTL Z en RTL Nieuws, is RTL uitgegroeid tot één van de grootste partijen op de Nederlandse digitale markt. Met behulp van SiteSpect's gepatenteerde technologie zal RTL Single Page Application (SPA) tests kunnen uitvoeren, met als doel het verhogen van online engagement, registraties en online omzet en daarnaast het verbeteren van gebruikerservaring en functionaliteit. Door de samenwerking zal RTL tevens toegang krijgen tot gebruikerstraining, onbeperkt testen voor alle domeinen op een platform alsmede SiteSpect's flexibele implementatie-opties: cloud, on-premise, AWS of enige combinatie hiervan. "SiteSpect heeft al ruim tien jaar mogen werken met de meest vooraanstaande digitale bedrijven ter wereld, en onze technologie heeft een grote bijdrage geleverd aan de winstgevendheid en omzetgroei van klanten op allerlei verticale markten," aldus Eric Hansen, Oprichter en CEO van SiteSpect, Inc. "Wij vinden het een eer dat RTL Nederland ons heeft gekozen om hun digitale groei te helpen versterken. SiteSpect's geavanceerde testmethoden en capaciteit in het testen met Single Page Applications zullen deze marktleider naar een volgend niveau van digitale groei brengen." Voor meer informatie over hoe SiteSpect digitale wereldleiders als Coolblue, ING en AholdDelhaize helpt met het verhogen van hun omzet, het verlagen van de kosten en het verminderen van risico's alsmede het vergroten van de klantloyaliteit, ga naar www.sitespect.com of bel +31 20 8202082. SiteSpect is toonaangevend in de ontwikkeling van testing, targeting en personalisatie- software waarmee de meest succesvolle digitale bedrijven ter wereld in staat zijn hun omzet te vergroten, klant-engagement te verdiepen en hun concurrentiepositie te verbeteren. Alleen met de SiteSpect digitale optimalisatie oplossing is het mogelijk voor klanten om de complete gebruikerservaring te testen, van de front-end "look and feel" tot de back-end functionaliteit, en om vanaf een centraal punt deze tests te beheren over verschillende kanalen, productlijnen en bedrijfsonderdelen. SiteSpect's gepatenteerde technologie en professionele diensten worden gebruikt door de belangrijkste digitale bedrijven waaronder ook Walmart, Target, Eddie Bauer, Urban Outfitters, Wayfair, Trulia en Overstock.com alsmede toonaangevende financiële dienstverleners en mediaconcerns. Meer informatie is te vinden op www.sitespect.com of via tel. +1 617-859-1900. Over RTL Nederland RTL Nederland is een all-round media & entertainment bedrijf en landelijk marktleider in televisie met vijf vrij toegankelijke zenders (RTL 4, RTL 5, RTL 7, RTL 8 en RTL Z) en drie digitale kanalen (RTL Lounge, RTL Crime, RTL Telekids). RTL's snelgroeiende digitale activiteiten zijn onder meer de terugkijkservice RTL XL, SVOD platform Videoland, een Multi Channel Network, het weerplatform Buienradar, nieuwsplatforms RTL Z en RTL Nieuws, alsmede een breed pakket aan apps en andere digitale projecten. Het bedrijf kan zich verder beroemen op een platform voor live evenementen en een ventures divisie. Met de toppositie die RTL inneemt op de Nederlandse televisiemarkt, als onafhankelijke nieuwsorganisatie en in haar toenemende rol op het gebied van digitale media biedt RTL Nederland overal en altijd informatie en entertainment, en is het één van de meest toonaangevende en onderscheidende mediabedrijven van Nederland. RTL Nederland is een dochter van RTL Group en deels in handen van Bertelsmann, een internationale organisatie.
News Article | December 1, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dashbot, the leading bot analytics platform, today announced it has raised $2 million in a Series Seed funding round. ff Venture Capital led the round, which included participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, Samsung Accelerator, Scrum Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, and Rembrandt Ventures. Dashbot provides bot-specific analytics and tools to enable brands and developers to increase user acquisition, engagement, and monetization. In addition
News Article | November 21, 2016
SINGAPORE, Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Arvato Systems Malaysia has been recognized as one of the "Top Companies to Work for in Asia" at the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards 2016 ("ACES Awards 2016"). The award was accepted by Thomas Kathofer at the ceremony in the Shangri-La Hotel Orchard in Singapore on November 17, 2016. "We are very pleased, honored and proud to have been awarded as "Top company to work for in Asia" by the ACES Award committee in 2016," stated Mr. Thomas Kathofer Managing Director Arvato Systems. "This is a testament that our efforts have paid off and that we have implemented the right HR practices for our company. This award represents the accomplishment of the team and it will serve as a reminder for us to continue to strive further on our HR excellency and to build a company that supports the growth and the success of our employees," added Mr. Kathofer. Arvato Systems Malaysia strongly believes that their most valuable assets are their employees as their performance will have strong influences on the company's performance and growth. It focuses on the importance of human resource management to align the organisational objectives of the company with the interests of the employees. It is the company's belief that good Human Resources adopts a holistic perspective on the strategic planning of the company and enmeshes the HRM policies fully with those of the organisation goals. About the "Top Companies to Work for in Asia" Award The "Top Companies to Work for in Asia" award endorses and showcases the human resource initiatives and best practices undertaken by award winners as being worthy of international recognition, and have resulted in the organizations becoming well respected and recognized talent advocates in their industries. The ACES Awards 2016 recognizes the achievements of the companies for their leadership excellence in CSR in the areas of Workplace, Environment and Community. As global next generation IT systems integrator Arvato Systems focuses on "Digital Transformation Solutions". We use the technology talent and expertise of over 3,000 people at more than 25 sites throughout the world. Being a part of the Arvato network and belonging to Bertelsmann, we have the unique capability to create entire value chains. Our team creates integrated, future-proof business infrastructures that help make our clients more agile and competitive, and enable them to deliver new standards of service to their customers. We create streamlined digital processes that support innovative business models. Arvato Systems offers an exceptional combination of international IT engineering excellence, the open mindset of a global player, and the dedication of employees. We also ensure that all our customer relationships are as personally rewarding and long-lasting as they are successful. IT.arvato.com For more information, please see http://IT.arvato.com/malaysia
News Article | February 15, 2017
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--8i, a company that develops holographic technology for virtual and augmented reality, today announced a US$27 million Series B round of funding to support the launch of its new mixed reality app Holo in 2017. The new round, which brings 8i’s total funding to $41 million, was led by Time Warner Investments, with participation from Baidu Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Verizon Ventures, One Ventures, Carsten Maschmeyer’s Seed & Speed Ventures, and existing investors. This is the first investment in VR/AR for Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) through its recently formed fund, Baidu Ventures. Time Warner Investments Managing Director Scott Levine joins 8i’s board. Today, at the Code Media conference in Dana Point, Calif., 8i will introduce Holo, a consumer mobile app that gives people an easy way to create mixed reality content with holograms of their favorite celebrities, brands, and characters. Holo lets users add holograms to their real-world environments and take videos and photos they can share with friends across their social channels and messaging apps. The app provides an innovative way for influencers across entertainment, music, and sports to reach and engage their audiences, and drive a new form of user generated content around their brand. “As consumers are augmenting, mixing and creating new content on their smartphones on a massive scale, mobile presents an unparalleled opportunity for distribution of holograms,” said 8i CEO Steve Raymond. “We’re thrilled to have the strategic expertise and backing of leaders in media, technology, and communications as we bring audiences new ways to create and engage with content. With this global round, we look forward to partnering with our investors from the US, China, Europe, and Australia as we bring our technology to consumers worldwide.” “With VR and AR, we’re seeing the very beginning of a new generation of immersive media,” said Scott Levine of Time Warner Investments. “8i makes holographic human content a reality in this new era with its breakthrough volumetric capture technology, while lowering the barrier for creators. We’re excited to back this world-class team as they continue to push the boundaries of data compression and depth acquisition, and bring holograms to the mainstream with Holo on smartphones.” “We are excited to back the extraordinary team at 8i and help bring its superior holographic experience to mass audiences in China,” said Daisy Cai, managing partner at Baidu Ventures. “At Baidu, we envision a future where VR and AR can be applied in numerous industries that serve our more than one billion monthly active users." Holo currently in beta, launching in 2017 8i is testing an early beta version of Holo on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro powered by Tango, an augmented reality technology from Google. As part of the beta, 8i is testing how users interact with the new technology and a limited selection of sample 3D holograms. The company plans to officially launch a new version of the app with content partners and programming later this year on Tango-enabled smartphones, and other mobile devices. 8i develops technology that provides an easy way to record, create and experience human holograms that look real and feel as if they were in the same room. Through its 8i Studios partner program, 8i enables human-driven VR and AR projects from third party creators. Partners record a human performance using an array of cameras through an approach called volumetric capture. The company’s proprietary technology transforms the video into a photorealistic 3D hologram, which can be easily integrated into VR/AR experiences for any device using 8i’s plugin for Unity. 8i rolled out the program in April 2016, and has signed more than 100 partners to date. “As we deliver on our long term vision of enabling the evolution of media and human communication, we’re inspired to help our partners bring their own vision to life,” said Raymond. “One of these projects is a groundbreaking virtual reality experience 8i created with Buzz Aldrin and our incredible partners at Time Inc. and Soylent, which we’re excited to premiere at the SXSW:Film festival in March.” 8i’s team brings decades of experience from Weta Digital, YouTube, NVIDIA, Google, Valve, Microsoft Research, PayPal, Sony Computer Entertainment, DreamWorks, Pixar, Bell Laboratories, Viacom, Xero, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Zynga. Existing investors in 8i include RRE Ventures, Founders Fund Science, Horizons Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Dolby Family Ventures, Signia Ventures Partners, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Sound Ventures (Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary), Inevitable Ventures, Freelands and Advancit Capital. Advisors include Kevin Wall (Control Room), Sam Wick (UTA), Ted Schilowitz (20th Century Fox), and Joshua Feast (Cogito). For more information visit: http://8i.com/ and http://8i.com/holo. 8i’s mission is to enable the evolution of media and human communication by giving people the best way to connect with each other and express themselves through holograms. We provide the easiest way to create, mix and experience 3D human holograms that look real, and can be viewed from any angle, on any device for virtual, augmented or mixed reality. Founded in May 2014, 8i is based in Wellington, New Zealand, and Los Angeles. Learn more at http://8i.com/. Time Warner Inc., a global leader in media and entertainment with businesses in television networks and film and TV entertainment, uses its industry-leading operating scale and brands to create, package and deliver high-quality content worldwide on a multi-platform basis. Baidu Ventures is the newly-formed venture capital investment arm of Baidu, Inc., the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. The first fund is USD$200 million, dedicated to investing in early-stage companies in the artificial intelligence (AI), AR and VR space. Led by seasoned investment professionals and former entrepreneurs, Baidu Ventures backs founders of next-generation technologies and invests globally from offices in Beijing and Sunnyvale, California.
News Article | December 13, 2016
Less than a month after the acquisition of BrightTarget, a provider of Artificial Intelligence solutions for B2B Sales & Marketing, Sidetrade adds another brick to its offer: predictive sales automation. Sidetrade strengthens its predictive offer with two of the most innovative European start-ups, according to Gartner's study "Market Guide for SaaS Based Predictive Analytics Applications for BtoB Sales and Marketing 2016". Marc Rouvier and Nicolas Woirhaye, founded IKO System in 2010 in Paris. IKO System's solutions already work with many European companies such as Anaplan, Bertelsmann, or Talend. The solution allows them to: IKO System's predictive algorithms and machine learning technologies allow sales forces to multiply their capacity to engage with thousands of targeted prospects while improving their conversion rate. These predictive technologies are based on millions of interactions between sales forces and decision-makers to anticipate the behavior of buyers and the best way to optimize the sales relationship. With this new acquisition, Sidetrade becomes the first global player to provide Artificial Intelligence solutions to improve the performance on the entire Sales-to-Cash cycle. Marc Rouvier, co-founder of IKO System, says: "Reaching out to prospects or clients is one of the main issues for every company. Today, 8 to 12 attempts are necessary to reach out to a decision-maker. Our solution uncovers the reachability of decision-makers and how they react to prospecting. Intelligent and personalized automation indulges a significant gain of efficiency for marketing, prospecting, customer follow-up and even financial relationships. With the convergence between BrightTarget (upstream) and Sidetrade (downstream), a unique industrial vision is taking form: create the first player offering Artificial Intelligence at each stage of the relationship with customers. Olivier Novasque, CEO of Sidetrade group, states: "IKO System uses the latest machine learning technologies to solve the eternal challenge of sales development. With BrightTarget, IKO System and Sidetrade's solutions, we can now build a single platform using Artificial Intelligence to create value on the entire Sales-to-Cash cycle. By now, we can tell a company: we know which prospect or which client to target first and foremost, how to engage decision-makers and what their payment behaviors are. To sum up, we allow our clients to significantly increase their turnover while accelerating their cash generation."
News Article | November 2, 2016
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ahead of their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 01 November 2016. REUTERS/Wu Hong/Pool BEIJING (Reuters) - Germany has received assurances that its car makers will not be discriminated against in China, its economy minister said in Beijing on Wednesday, a positive signal in a visit conducted amid strains in trade ties. In talks with Chinese Industry Minister Miao Wei, Sigmar Gabriel discussed China's plans to set quotas for electric cars from 2018. The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung cited a draft Chinese law as saying that manufacturers will have to produce a certain proportion of zero- or low-emission emission vehicles, starting in 2018, or else be forced to buy credits from other producers. Some German firms have expressed fears that the quotas would restrict their market share and pose an extra hurdle for European firms in China. Volkswagen and Daimler have been taking steps to expand capacity in China, where strong demand has helped to offset falling sales elsewhere - but their electric-vehicle production remains at a fledgling stage. Gabriel said Miao had indicated that German fears of being excluded were unfounded, and said Miao had promised that any German car maker producing in China, the world's biggest auto market, would be treated on an equal basis with Chinese companies. Gabriel also told reporters that German companies were not obliged to use Chinese suppliers. Foreign auto brands are only allowed to manufacture cars in China through joint ventures with local partners, and typically are limited to two partners. VW already has joint ventures with SAIC Motor and China FAW Group. VW, Europe's biggest car maker and one of the first global automakers to set up production facilities in China during the 1980s, signed a preliminary deal with China's Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC Motor) only two months ago to explore making electric cars in a joint venture. Before his trip with 60 German business executives, Gabriel had called for a more level playing field for foreign firms in China, but also pushed for EU-wide rules to block Chinese takeovers of key technologies. Last month, his ministry withdrew approval for Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund (FGC) to buy chip equipment maker Aixtron, citing new security concerns. It has also reportedly blocked a Chinese takeover of Osram's light bulb unit Ledvance pending a review. Thilo Ketterer, an M&A adviser at consulting and auditing firm Roedl & Partner who is currently in China, said the moves had unsettled Chinese investors he had met. "They're not cancelling the deals but they wait. Because now, if they have a target, they know exactly that the German government will check it very carefully." Chinese investments in Germany in the first half of the year were up 200 percent, according to a Bertelsmann Stiftung study published on Wednesday. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said both countries should "send out clear signals that both sides oppose protectionism", according to a statement posted on the cabinet website. Separately, China said on Wednesday that German EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger's use of the derogatory term "Schlitzaugen" - "slit eyes" - to refer to Asians reflected a "baffling sense of superiority" among some Western politicians. "We hope these people can learn ... mutual respect and equal treatment," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing. Oettinger, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party, had used the term in a speech to business leaders in Hamburg. Oettinger said his remarks were "somewhat sloppy", but stopped short of apologizing, and rejected accusations of racism. The news website Politico reported Oettinger as saying "There is nothing to apologize for" after being stopped on the street by a journalist in Brussels. "There were some passages in what was heard that were certainly not the chancellor's language or the way she chooses to express herself," he said. "Everyone must take care not to offend anyone with their language."