Chinese President Hu Jintao met visiting German President Johannes Rau on Thursday in Beijing.
Rau arrived in the western city of Xi'an on Wednesday at the start of his eight-day state visit.
Rau was expected to talk to Hu about a range of international political and economic issues.
The slow German economy and its impact on German companies doing business in China were on the agenda, said Matthias Mueller, a member of the 750-member German Industry and Commerce Delegation in Beijing.
German firms such as Bayer, BASF, Siemens and Volkswagen are major industrial employers in China.
During his visit Rau will visit six different cities, and plans to talk to college students at Beijing's Tsinghua University, one of China's top schools.
Germany is the second most popular destination, after the United States, for Chinese students seeking overseas degrees, according to China's Xinhua News Agency.
While in the capital Rau will also chair a discussion at the German Centre for Scientific Cooperation, and tour the Great Wall and Forbidden City.
Rau will then travel to Nanjing, Guilin, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
He plans to speak at a university in Nanjing and meet German business leaders in Shanghai.
Rau, 72, has been president since 1999.
He was invited to China by former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.