Chinese companies are interested in buying German companies, but this has so far failed to materialise into substantive deals, say analysts. "There is a difference between perception and substance. The amount of interest I get from Chinese companies wanting to buy German companies is huge, but not many deals have materialised yet," said Benjamin Kroymann, a Shanghai-based corporate partner of Squire Sanders, a United States law firm. Many Chinese firms lacked experience venturing abroad, so their failure rate in closing overseas deals was higher than that for US and European companies, Kroymann said. Joachim Heine, a Squire Sanders partner based in Frankfurt, said another reason for the low number of cross-border deals between the two countries was the reluctance of many German owners to sell their companies to Chinese and other foreign buyers. "The economic situation is not that stable for German sellers," he said. In 2011, there were seven Chinese acquisitions in Germany worth €506 million (HK$5.36 billion), Heine said. This rose to 14 deals worth €2.3 billion, including the €324 million purchase of 90 per cent of concrete machinery firm Putzmeister Group by Sany Heavy Industry, a Shanghai-listed construction machinery firm. Heine estimated there would be 14 to 20 Chinese acquisitions in Germany this year. "There is not a big increase on the cards." Germany had more than 1,000 medium-sized family-owned private companies, Heine said. "That's the backbone of our (Germany's) economy." But it was not easy for foreign companies to buy these companies because they would be required to respect family tradition and employment conditions, he said. "German companies have highly sophisticated and skilled employees with local ties and China lacks experienced internationally oriented managers to run foreign companies," Heine said. Kroymann said many of the deals done by Chinese companies in Germany were in the heavy machinery and mechanical engineering sectors. Diana Choyleva, the head of macroeconomic research at British think tank Lombard Street Research, said: "Germany's comparative advantage is in its capital goods like machinery, and this plays well into China's investment-led growth." However, China was now shifting to consumer-led growth, Choyleva said. Still, Kroymann said that for the next 10 to 15 years he foresaw no risk that German machinery products would be in less demand in China given the infrastructure required in third and fourth-tier cities.