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Dear Members and friends of FBCB,

It’s hot midsummer in Beijing already. Yet, we need to say goodbye to all holiday travel plans this summer. After months of lockdowns and stay at home orders, cities across the country and around the world are beginning to reopen. But here in Beijing city residents have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel in and out of the capital due to COVID-19’s resurgence. Second wave or not, it's being taken care of seriously.
The year 2020 will remain in history as a very special year: the year of COVID-19. A tiny virus which managed to put the world on its knees in so many ways, for an unpredictable length of time. It has challenged all the conventional ways of conducting business - especially here in China. Online meetings, webinars, and remoting work has replaced face-to-face meetings, conferences, and events on a scale that is hard to imagine.
Economically speaking, the companies relying on online, digital, or e-commerce business have been uniquely suited to overcome the recent challenges, whereas the manufacturing, transportation, travel, as well as import and export industries have suffered significantly more. Many companies have been forced to reimagine their model and innovate new business.
One of the greatest challenges for all foreign businesses in China has been the travel restrictions. Management and employees were effectively stuck in China - or worse, outside of China - for several months all at once. Yet only a few Finnish companies have made the decision to withdraw their business from China. What has made them loyal enough to stick around in spite of the recent challenges? The reason is clear. Most of the Finnish companies in China are here for the Chinese market only. Although the borders are closed, the local markets are rapidly recovering - faster than in most countries. Some of the FBCB member companies have experienced unbelievable success stories and sales records during the past half a year alone. One of them is MARJA KURKI. Managing Director Caroline Xue will tell in our guest writer article, what is behind the success.
In difficult times, we need each other. It’s important to share information and benchmark best practices in a rapidly changing business environment. These needs are reflected in the ongoing growth of FBCB membership. We've had ten new companies joining us this term, with the bulk of them during this spring. Finnish people are the most innovative people in the world. We are survivors, and together we are stronger.

On behalf of whole FBCB, wishing you a relaxing summer!
Ulla Nurmenniemi
Executive Director
Update: Travel policy to and from cities in China
The impact and severity of the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing continues to develop. Individual members, either with operations in Beijing or that need to move personnel into and out of the jurisdiction, should evaluate the situation and make decisions according to ongoing changes to travel restrictions imposed by the government.

Starting from 16th June, people from high-and-medium-risk areas of Beijing and those in close contact with Xinfadi market personnel cannot leave the city. People from other parts of Beijing can leave Beijing only when necessary and must have a negative RNA test result from within the previous 7 days. Check the latest travel policy of Beijing and other cities in China via the European Chamber link HERE
Dear Finnish business council members,
I'm very much honored to be asked by the FBCB board to write this month's newsletter to share our experience. We may not be the expert in online business. But we are certainly among the ones who survived the Coronavirus because of it. 
From the end of January until April, our offline shops hardly had any business through May. Only in June Marja Kurki offline shops are back to normal. In the meantime, our online business increased by 25% by the end of May this year. China's virtual market has been a very important one, well before COVID-19. It becomes even more important after it.
Going online became inevitable
Since its establishment in 1994, Marja Kurki China had been growing steadily before internet shopping hit China market. We have encountered competition from online shopping as early as 2013. From 2014 onwards, we staggered alone the road from offline shops to the online journey from scratch. At that time our employees didn't believe we could ever make it as the online market price was so low for the same kind of products.
Having made all kinds of possible mistakes, we built the online team and engage the existing team to work together as one
In early days, we entrusted an agent to open a MARJA KURKI shop on tmall.com. The cooperation went alright until one day we found out they had been selling copied MARJA KURKI scarfs to our surprise. We realized we could trust nobody but ourselves.
We once tried to use our existing employees to learn to run online stores. Soon we learned that the learning curve is too steep to command all skills and tricks in a short period. Although not easy, we did find very good people who are also interested to learn about Finnish designs and scarves. 
Make products more suitable for online
Some material that needs to be felt or touched, such as cashmere, we don't sell that much online. Instead offline shop assistants very much like to sell cashmere as customers love to feel the material. Online shoppers are younger. They like to have more fashionable designs. They are more price-sensitive than offline shoppers. Each season we make a special online collection for our online shops. These products are selling like hotcakes. 
e-commerce is all about the shopping experience
The essence of e-commerce is no different than regular business. The only difference is online shoppers buy from the product page instead of the shop shelf. Since online shoppers can't feel the products, we should let them "see" and “feel” by showing pictures with all angles they need to see. It took us years to tell which photos sell which don’t. In other words, what e-commerce is all about photos. It is about customers “see” your products through them.
Another key difference in the behavior of the shoppers is that online shoppers search to look for what they need. And in the real world, shoppers shop with their eyes and tend to impulse shopping. For our kind of business,” scarves” are too broad to be searched. Small-sized silk scarves or long silk scarves are more accurate and easier to be searched. The language of the virtual shop echoes the need of the consumers. The analytic data is nearly the bible for e-commerce.
The product page should include all the information our shop assistants tell the customers in a real shop: the product material, size, price, and the current promotion, etc. 
Free and fast shipping is part of good shopping experience.
The better shopping experience customers have a higher sales conversion rate. (conversion rate= buying customers /visitors)
Set Goals and KPIs 
For an online business, it is important to use the analytics and set the right KPIs to align with the business goals. The most important KPI is of course the sales. But that’s not the only one. We have to know the right ratio for advertising on the platform to get traffic and the right conversion rate to get the sales. The price reduction limit should also be set as a boundary for both the online team and the offline team so that there will be no internal competition. The accounting team should be able to provide the net income statistics after necessary expenses such as advertising and promotion (coupons and reduction), shipping, etc. to avoid an inflated revenue. We also watch the merchandise return rate so that we know the product performance and adjust quickly and accordingly. 
We have changed the procedure of the warehouse team so that speed and accuracy are the key KPI’s to maintain customers’ good shopping experience.
For buying office, they must keep a certain speed to refill the stock after goods being sold out.
To conclude
To conclude what we share here, first, improve the online shopping experience for online shoppers including free and fast shipping. Secondarily, make products more suitable for the digital world. Last but not the least, make clear goals for the team.
I wish everyone stays well and safe. See you soon in real world!
Caroline Xue
Managing Director
Kurki Fashion Beijing Limited
Team Finland: Business Finland informs
Winter Sport Morning Coffee Break

Business Finland´s Winter Sports Activities is organizing a monthly online meeting to connect with piers, and share information and ideas.

Next meeting will be held August 26 and September 23

To receive invitation to these meetings and to join Business Finland Winter Sport contact list, please send a message to sari.paavilainen@businessfinland.fi
Past Events
Finnish language courses for beginners in May & June became equally popular with the previous ones. Two fully booked classes of Chinese employees from FBCB member companies were learning to chat in Finnish in webinar sessions. Attending an interactive course from home sofa at the time of Coronavirus-isolation has also given opportunities for social contacts. Language courses will continue after summer break in the beginning of September.

The first post-Corona Afterwork was held June 5that Hotel Zhaolong. There were about 30 people from FBCB member companies, Finnish Embassy workers, and Finnish friends gathering together to enjoy a lovely evening.
Mr Ambassador Jarno Syrjala brought greetings from the Embassy of Finland. FBCB Executive Director Ulla Nurmenniemi moderated the new FBCB board and guest introduction.
Biannual Team Finland Company Day was held online June 10 chaired by Ambassador Jarno Syrjala. Economic Outlook and Analysis of the Outcome of the Two Sessions was presented by Mary Boyd, Director of The Economist Corporate Network (HERE). After that Samuli Vesala, Commercial Director of the Finnish Olympic Committee told about Winter Olympic Games 2022 preparations, followed by a company case of Metsa Group. The day ended up in Team Finland focus areas and activities for the latter part of year 2020. All slides available HERE
In IPR protection during COVID-19 - webinar June 16thChina IPR SME Helpdesk IP Business Advisor Mr. Matias Zubimendi focusedon Covid-19 and its impact to IP protection in China.He gave an overview of the policies taken by the Chinese Government on IPR issues during the pandemic, including the measures taken by the CNIPA, focusing on the fast-track procedures for patents and trademarks, the time limits and the technical assistance available to SMEs. Slides are available HERE
Summer can't really start without Midsummer Party. Around 15 people from FBCB member companies and Finnish community gathered for mingle and brunch on Saturday June 20th at Irish Volunteer Bar&Terracce decorated with Finnish flags.
Education for the Future -webinar, co-organized with Ducreay Foundation, took place on June 29th. This international event, moderated by Dahlia Ducreay, brought educations specialist of different regions to discuss about the practical way to improve education sector. It was also a sharing session for innovative sustainable ideas for future education. One of the panelists was Mari-Anna Suurmunne, Counsellor for Higher Education and Science Policy from Embassy of Finland to China. She gave an excellent presentation of Finnish education system and ideology behind it.
Does your company need more visibility and contacts in China?
Finnish Business Council Beijing is part of Team Finland in China, and an outstanding platform for all Finnish businesses in China. For those companies which need more visibility, we have launched a Premium Membership. It's an upgrade from normal membership, as you can see from the table below.

For those companies in Finland, who are planning to expand their businesses to China, or are in the early stage and don't have an office in China yet, we have a distant membership. It's called Proxy Membership. A very cost-effective way to make your company known to a large audience, and get essential contacts for your future.
Premium Membership benefits:
  • Get your logo on frontpage of FBCB website
  • Get your logo on all newsletters and event invitations
  • Get an advertisement to FBCB webpage
  • Write an article to FBCB Newsletter once a year
  • Organize an event for other members and other people using FBCB event platform once a year
PLUS normal Membership benefits:
  • Network opportunities with all other member companies
  • Keep updated what's happening in China-Finnish business
  • Make new business contacts
  • Access FBCB events with member price or free of charge, access member-only events
  • Enjoy discounts of various service and product providers (hotels, health care, tailor, scarfs, air purifiers, etc)
  • Get your company logo, description and key products to membership directory in FBCB website
Proxy membership benefits:
  • Get monthly newsletter
  • Get one article to newsletter when joining
  • Network opportunities with all other member companies through FBCB
  • Keep updated what's happening in China-Finnish business
  • Make new business contacts
  • When visiting in Beijing, access events with member price or free of charge, access member-only events
  • Enjoy discounts of various service providers in Beijing (e.g.hotels)
  • Get company logo, description and key products to membership directory on FBCB website

CONTACT for more information:
Ulla Nurmenniemi, Executive Director, FBCB

Meet the FBCB new Board and operative team 2020-2021
FBCS, FBCGD and FinnCham HK events
  • July 2: Women who lead
  • July 10: How to deal with Dawn Raids

  • July 10: Nordic Summer Lunch
  • July 14: Post-COVID19 webinar


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