Sino-Finnish economic cooperation growing
Clean energy, advanced manufacturing sectors attractive to Chinese firms
The bilateral economic relationship between China and Finland has seen burgeoning growth in recent years thanks to the development of competitive Finnish industries such as clean energy and advanced manufacturing, the country's well-established business environment and its strategic location, officials and company executives said. [Special coverage]
They also noted that an increasing number of Finnish firms are looking to expand their presence in the Chinese market due to the huge consumer base and the government's agenda of promoting an industrial upgrade and green economy.
The comments were made ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's three-day state visit to Finland that started Tuesday, which is expected to further tighten the two nations' economic cooperation.
"The speed at which Chinese firms' investments have flowed to Finland in the last two years is remarkable, and that made the country jump to the fifth largest destination for foreign investment in Europe last year," Yang Erfen, the chairman of Chinese Enterprises Association in Finland, told the Global Times over the weekend.
As of the end of 2015, Chinese investment in Finland totaled $96.27 million, while Finnish investment in China stood at $1.1 billion, according to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce.
The trend signals great momentum for domestic firms investing in Finland, according to Zhu Bin, the director of Invest in Finland Greater China. "Chinese investment in Finland mostly aims at acquiring tech know-how, which is different from investment in Canada or New Zealand that features purchasing assets like property," Zhu told the Global Times on Sunday.
Sectors such as high-end manufacturing, communications and clean energy, which Finland has the advantage of years of accumulated experience, are where cooperation opportunities abound, Yang said.
"What we have purchased is Finland's core technology in air filtration in 2013, which is the most advanced in the world, and now we have explored a mature business mode by transferring Finland's technology to our production line and then global sales," Yang Feizhi, CEO of Beijing Synergy New Energy Technology Service which holds 85 percent of share in Finland-based air filter producer AAVI, told the Global Times over the weekend.
Finland, which attracts many Chinese companies with an open attitude, provides a first-rate business environment for both transnational companies and small startups, Zhang Li, board secretary of Glodon's Finland subsidiary Progman, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Finland welcomes Chinese companies and provides the same privileges as given to local ones, said Zhuziqi, director of Administrative Committee of Zhongguancun Science Park Finland Office.
Another highlight of the Finnish market is its extraordinary group of engineers and researchers from around the world, Zhu added. Huawei has rapidly developed in Finland thanks to the country's large-scale employment of local talent, and by taking advantage of the staff reduction of Nokia in 2014.
Although the Finnish market is quite small with a population of roughly 5 million, its location, which sits at the gate where China is linked with the European block, whets the appetite for companies "looking to explore the European market," said Yang Yuxin, vice president of Thundersoft.
Progman board secretary Zhang believes that in spite of cultural differences, there are strong complementarities in Sino-Finnish economic cooperation.
China's fund and board market can be combined with Finland's world leading technology, and China's assertive decision-making ability and market operation experience can help release the enormous potential in Finland's concentrated research and development ability, Yang from Synergy New Energy noted.
Finnish companies have also rushed to the Chinese market to get a slice of the country's economic pie.
Elevator maker KONE Elevator and Escalator, which entered China in 1996, generates about a third of its revenue from China due to the government's efforts to "accelerate the process of urbanization and erect taller buildings," William B. Johnson, president of KONE Greater China, told the Global Times on Monday.
Even though the Chinese economy has entered a new normal, the government's emphasis on quality rather than development speed has also helped Finnish firms, such as energy-saving company Enersize, gain a foothold in the country, said Tang Xiaona, the partner operations director of Enersize.
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