Merkel calls for Germany and China to regear relations for digital era

German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits iCarbonX, a start up company focusing on combining genomics with other health factors to create a digitalized form of life, in Shenzhen, China May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

SHENZHEN (Reuters) - Berlin and Beijing must revamp their relationship to adapt to digital changes, said Angela Merkel, who has made the issue a top priority of her fourth term as German Chancellor.

Germany lags behind other industrialized countries and Merkel said during a visit to China she hoped the two countries would sign a memorandum of understanding in the coming months for the automobile sector, specifically on autonomous driving.

That, she said on Friday, should provide German companies with more opportunities and security in this new technology.

“Both sides must tread new paths,” she said during a trip to the southern city of Shenzhen, where she was visited a Chinese start-up and a Siemens factory.

“Cooperation needs to be put on a completely new footing due to digitalization,” Merkel said.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Alexander Smith