ABA Newsletter (12 Oct 2016)

Date: Oct 2016

Leading Chinese rail transit equipment producer CRRC ZELC opens European headquarters in Vienna

The new European headquarters of CRRC ZELC in Vienna is designed to serve as the company’s bridgehead for its expansion in the European market. It will focus on consulting services, the implementation of future projects in Europe, material procurement, dealing with maintenance and guarantee services as well as providing marketing support.

Moreover, the European headquarters will also be the foreign platform of CRRC ZELC for technical cooperation, talent management and talent promotion.

By establishing a European subsidiary, the company wants to offer innovative and comprehensive solutions integrating state-of-the-art technologies and science and thus enter core European markets from its base in Austria.


CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation) is a globally leading manufacturer of railway technology from Peking, China. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Hong Kong and Shanghai, and most recently generated annual revenues of more than EUR 30 billion, with a workforce of about 180,000 employees. CRRC ZELC headquartered in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province is the largest subsidiary of CRRC, with annual revenue of EUR 4 billion and production volume up until now of more than 8,000 locomotives and subway railcars.

Leitner expands plant in Tyrol

The South Tyrolean cable railway company Leitner hopes to grow with its Tyrolean facility, and hire up to 100 new employees.

At present Leitner, located in Telfs, employs about 250 people. The plant and offices were expanded over the past few months at a cost of about EUR 8 million.

The company manufactures about 3,500 chairlift chairs and approximately 1,000 snow machines, thus contributing about EUR 150 million of the group’s total revenue of EUR 726 million in 2015. Leitner has responded to climate change, for example, by making massive investments in research, reducing energy consumption and promoting digitalization.

Nikon starts operations at new headquarters in Vienna

The new sales entity of the Japanese camera and optical solutions specialist located in Vienna will be responsible for the Austrian market as well as five CEE countries.

At the beginning of September, the new sales and service unit began operations in Vienna and Slovenia. The focus is on the photography business, including digital cameras and biological microscopes, for Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. The objective is to continue operating the existing sites while exploiting potential synergies elsewhere.

Nikon manufactures cameras, lenses, and other optical precision devices such as microscopes, binoculars and wafer steppers. The company has been actively represented on the European market since 1961. The Japanese multinational was established in 1917 from the merger of three companies, and was renamed Nikon in 1988. The owner of Nikon is Mitsubishi.

Boehringer Ingelheim cooperates with Tyrolean biotech firm ViraTherapeutics

Boehringer Ingelheim is increasing its research into the promising future market of immunotherapy for cancer. A long-term cooperation agreement has been signed with the Austrian biotech company ViraTherapeutics to develop virus therapies to treat cancer.

ViraTherapeutics, based in Tyrol, will be responsible for the preclinical and clinical testing of the main product up until the conclusion of Phase 1 trials. Subsequently, Boehringer Ingelheim has the right to acquire ViraTherapeutics. On balance, according to both companies, the deal has a possible transaction volume of up to EUR 210 million. EUR 20 million will be invested in the cooperation in the first phase.

Spin-off of the Medical University of Innsbruck

ViraTherapeutics is a spin-off of the Medical University of Innsbruck and has been operating for three years. In addition to other investors, the company has already been financed by the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, serving as a core investor.

dm exports Austrian apprenticeship training to CEE countries

Recently, pilot training began in Salzburg and Vienna, in which 80 employees will catch up and go through apprenticeship training to become a druggist within the context of a second-chance educational program. In about one year they will take part in the final apprenticeship examination overseen by an independent commission.

"If one compares unemployment among youth in Austria or Germany with the CEE countries, one can see how important apprenticeship training is”, said Petra Mathi-Kogelnik, the responsible managing director of human resources for dm Austria.

In contrast to the domestic apprenticeship training to become a druggist, where young people attend 1,440 hours in a vocational school, the pilot project will make do with 408 hours of classes, which can be bundled. “The basics are not included here, because one can take certain skills for granted in adult employees, for example commercial arithmetic”, she added.

The 80 participants in the first round of training come from nine countries, namely Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.

“It would be great if we could take the first step towards establishing a dual educational system, with traditional apprenticeships running alongside the new abridged versions, in these countries. I believe that other professions besides druggists would also do the same”

Vahle Group invests EUR 3.5 million in an innovation center in Tyrol

The automobile component supplier Vahle Deto, a German-Austrian joint venture, is investing about EUR 3.5 million in an innovation and competence center in Tyrol specializing in drive and control systems in the fields of conveyor technology and automation.

The medium-term goal of the company is to employ a staff of 50 people, and generate revenue of approximately EUR 15 million. The new buildings currently under construction will not only contain a virtual factory with demonstration facilities and test tracks for new products but will have space for a new automation center with component production and series development.

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