Dear Members and friends of FBCB,
When I was writing this same greeting one year ago, I wrote that at the beginning of 2020 nobody could foresee how the year would turnout. At the start of this year many of us, myself included, expected the World to return at least closer to “old normal”. But the pandemic with related restrictions and vaccine debates remain as daily discussion points. Those of us in China have been able to live almost normally most of the year, albeit I am sure everyone is looking forward to international travel being possible as soon as possible.
Looking at the positive impacts of the pandemic here in China, perhaps one is that the Finnish business community has become closer during these two years. Also, FBCB community continues to grow, we end the year having close to 60 corporate members. During December we welcomed two new ones: Vepe Peltonen Oy and Polestar. Once again, I want to welcome the new members on board and at the same time thank our existing members for the support!
China’s economic recovery during 2021 has been rapid. While the first half of the year produced double digit year-on-year growth numbers, they were foremost result of getting back to normal after a considerable slowdown the year before. In the third quarter GDP growth ended up just below 5 percent. For the whole year of 2021 World Bank in forecasting GDP growth of around 8 percent which comparing to the rest of the World is pretty remarkable. China’s fast recovery has been very visible to many of our members has well. Based on discussions, several Finnish companies have been recording even all time high sales numbers in China during the pandemic. Next year’s forecast for China Economy, however, predicts the growth to slowdown to about 5 percent. (For more information on World Bank forecast click here
After almost two years of the pandemic era, 2021 seems to be ending with a positive note as regards to next year’s outlook. In the McKinsey Global Survey 60 percent of the respondents expect the economic conditions to improve in 2022. Not surprisingly respondents from Greater China (together with India and Asia-Pacific) in the survey viewed the domestic economic conditions most positive compared to six months ago. Similar optimism was shown in the business confidence survey by European Union Chamber of Commerce in China earlier this year: views on business outlook for coming two years were more positive than during six previous years (full survey report
). The number one concern for global economy remains the same – the pandemic. The prolonging pandemic is starting to lead to “new” perceived main threats to the economy: For the first time since 2012 (when it was included to the survey) respondents saw inflation as a top two risk for global and domestic growth. (For more information see the Economic Conditions Snapshot, December 2021: McKinsey Global Survey results
In Beijing we are very focused on the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 starting in a few weeks. With the pandemic there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding the games but the preparations have proceed on schedule. On the 4th of February with the opening of the games Beijing will write Olympic history being the first city to have hosted both Summer and Winter Olympics. 2022 will mark the 70th anniversary of People´s Republic of China participating in the modern Olympics. The first time was in Helsinki Summer Olympics of 1952. Team China was accepted to the Games rather late that year but still decided to send a delegation consisting of two football teams (women and men) as well as one swimmer. As the Olympic teams today are challenged in travelling to Beijing Games by COVID -restrictions, the first Olympic Team China also experienced challenges with travel as jet planes were not in use yet. In the end the team arrived in Helsinki in time for the swimmer to take part in Olympic competition but the two football teams had missed their scheduled games and ended up competing in unofficial friendly matches.
Naturally the 2022 Winter Olympics will take place under heavy restrictions. These include so called Olympic bubbles around the venues and other Olympic sites. The Games will be organized in three main locations: Downtown Beijing, Yanqing District (Beijing) and Chongli District (City of Zhangjiakou). Although the planning and scheduling of different events aims at keeping the need of moving between these locations to the minimum, maintaining the bubbles will surely be a huge challenge. As preparation for the Olympics Beijing implemented travel restrictions for the city also domestically already in November. For those involved (or planning to be involved) in the Games the local organizers and International Olympic Committee published the final Playbook two weeks ago outlining the pandemic measures during the Olympics. Perhaps the most significant rule refers to unvaccinated athletes and other team members. They are required to enter China through mandatory 21 quarantine which in practice means that unvaccinated athletes will not be able to take part in the Beijing Games. Those who can enter the Olympic bubble will be tested daily and positive test result or even direct exposure will lead to isolation. With the aggressively contagious Omicron variant spreading the risks for athletes to take part in the Games are increasing. It remains to be seen how athletes perceive the risk when the team selections are published during coming weeks. Also for us, who would be eager to see the Olympics on site, the situation looks dim as no tickets have officially been released for sale. Nevertheless, February will surely be filled with Olympic celebration and atmosphere in Beijing.
Looking at 2022 FBCB together with whole Team Finland continue the work to support Finnish companies. It will be first full year for Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola in China and naturally we at FBCB look forward to continue the great collaboration with her and the whole Team Finland network. Be sure to read Ambassador’s own greetings to the FBCB community later in this Newsletter. After the New Year we will start 2022 with our traditional (even legendary) Epiphany Brunch on the 9th of January. FBCB’s Women in Business continues active gatherings on January 14th. You can find more information on these events below. FBCB together with FBCS, FBCGD and Fincham HK will also launch the annual business confidence survey soon. For this and other future event information, stay tuned!
Before heading to New Year celebrations, check out the last guest writer of 2021. Mika Woll from m5 Architectual consulting shares the story how a Finnish architect landed in China.
With these words I want to wish you all Success and Prosperity for the year 2022!
On behalf of FBCB,
|Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola’s Greetings|
It is a great pleasure for me to greet the members of the Finnish Business Council in Beijing. I wish you all and your families a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Year 2022!
A few extraordinary first months as Finland’s Ambassador to China have gone by quickly. After the long journey from Helsinki via Shanghai to Beijing due to the continuing quarantine requirements, time has flown by. At the outset of a new year, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on my first months in China, take stock of the year past, and plan for the year ahead.
Above all, I wish to thank everyone for the warm welcome I have received. Over the past three months, I have immersed myself in a new culture, met with a cross section of Chinese officials and business professionals, and had the pleasure of connecting with many of you in person. These connections have laid the foundation for the coming year as well.
In particular, I would like to thank the members of the Finnish Business Council in Beijing for the good cooperation that my entire team has enjoyed in 2021. The Council is one of the closest partners of the Embassy when it comes to promoting Finnish business interests in China. Together with the other members of the Team Finland China network, we have sought to ensure that Finnish companies are provided with the best possible conditions for making the most of the opportunities in the Chinese market.
Having said that, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced us as Team Finland actors to rethink the way we interact and promote our home country. I also know that the past two years have been challenging for many of you and the industries you represent. The pandemic has only reinforced the view that, in exceptional times, embassies have an important mission to assist Finnish citizens, to support decision-making in Finland and to identify market opportunities for Finnish companies. I want to thank our Team Finland partners in the execution of these efforts.
Going forward, we are currently finalizing the Team Finland China plan for 2022. The pandemic has taught us that we still need to do more in prioritizing action and managing big issues, such as climate change and digital transformation. The goals related to green growth and the digital transition, which are priorities for Finland, will also be comprehensively addressed in next year’s Team Finland plan.
Last but not least, it is good to be optimistic about the future. Bringing together the expertise of our entire Team Finland China network, we will continue to pursue our work for the benefit of Finland and Finnish businesses in the Chinese market.
Ambassador of Finland to China
|Guest writer: m5 Architects - The China Story|
Beijing-based design studio m5 architects (燃空间咨询策划) came to existence two years ago, but despite the company’s quite recent founding it is build on solid experience in China.
My journey in China began in 2011 with a surprise invitation from a former classmate at Aalto University, to join a design competition in Tianjin. An unexpected win led to more commissions and eventually the co-founding of Beijiguang Design with a focus on urban planning and building refurbishment projects. The dynamic environment, the fast pace and the sheer amount of possibilities had me hooked, so I decided to put my company in Helsinki on ice, and relocate to China.
Photo on left by Tuomas Uusheimo - Beijiguang
Architecture education rarely prepares well for running a business. Support, both in form of financial subsidies as well as specialized advise, is also hard to come by for the creative industries, so growth as an entrepreneur is often build on learning by doing. China had quite a few lessons to teach – sometimes the hard way. After running the company together with my business partner for three years, I moved on to join an interior design company to work on commercial interiors, serving demanding clients from international corporations to domestic companies.
2019, with the covid pandemic was still beyond the horizon, I felt the time was ripe for starting a new company. After a rocky start in the first quarter of 2020, m5 architects started to take off and a partner, German architect Tim Bauer, joined in 2021. Tim brings with him his 10 year experience in China on large scale projects from towers to subway stations. This broad experience enables m5 architects not to be constrained to a certain type of project, but rather to take on design challenges for clients with vision and commitment to quality.
Photo above by Marc Goodwin - anySCALE
We at m5 firmly believe that only a design rooted in physical, historical, social and cultural context elevates a building from mere construction to architecture, while the ultimate proof of any concept is its physical manifestation in form of a realized project. Therefore attention to detail and an understanding of the realities of construction are equally crucial for us as designer as theoretical capability.
At its heart m5 architects is firmly rooted in a very Finnish approach, with sensible technical solutions and human-centric scale and detailing – enriched by a constantly growing knowledge of Chinese ideas, concepts and traditions. Being able to absorb new ideas and stay a live-long learner are certainly core qualities for any creative professional. And China provides enough to learn for at least a lifetime.
The company’s Finnish heritage also shows in its efficient BIM (building information modelling)-based workflow. Together with a solid network of local and international consultants (structure, MEP, lighting, landscape, graphics design, etc.) this allows m5 architects to take on more complex projects, than the team’s size would suggest.
Currently, m5 architects work is focused on higher-end commercial interiors (from offices to showrooms and retail to F&B, to education spaces) on one side and on small to medium sized architectural projects, be they commercial, cultural or educational, on the other.
My own background as a trained carpenter and working in Finland, where timber is a common building material, has lead to firm expertise with timber structures. While the use of wood is still limited in China, the interest is rising as clients and policy makers pay more attention to sustainability and healthy environments for living and work.
Members of the FBCB might recognize one of m5 architects’ more recent smaller projects: the redesign of Beijing’s only Finnish restaurant, Moi. Photo below by Vesa Niskanen.
Author: Mr Mika Woll
m5 architects, Beijing
|Polestar Electric cars - site visit Dec 9|
Finnish Business Council Beijing newest member Polestar - ultra modern electric car company - hosted it's first event with FBCB. Wonderful presentations by President Nathan Forshaw and Brand Director Chetan Kotur inspired also FBCB Chair Juha Tuominen and Vice-Chair Pekka Patja for test drive.
|Traditional Finnish Christmas Party Dec 17|
Finnish Business Council Beijing Traditional Christmas Party in Beijing Finnish restaurant MOI couldn't have been better... Wonderful Christmassy atmosphere, traditional Finnish Christmas food, live Christmas music by the famous Finnish duo "Katja & Marko", and people who make the party. The party was sold out and the space was fully packed with elves, and other Christmas looks. Even the Santa himself came over to share gifts.
|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.
See all membership options HERE
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:
- NEW: Option to join FBC Premium Health Insurance Plan
- 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
- NEW: Option to join FBC Premium Health Insurance Plan
CONTACT for more information:
Ulla Nurmenniemi, Executive Director, FBCB
|FBC's Premier Health Insurance|
What is the Premier Health Insurance Program about?
The Premier Health Insurance Program of the FBC is provided exclusively for company members of Finnish Business Councils. Program is run by experienced international insurance broker – Oriental Benefit Group. The program offers companies with a comprehensive coverage and affordable rates. You can get the group insurance rates even if there's only one person in the company.
Why choose the Premier Health Insurance Program?
- Reputable insurance provider with full coverage plans
- Inpatient AND Outpatient coverage, up to annual maximum
- Pre-existing medical conditions covered (conditions apply) *
- Worldwide Emergency treatment
- Emergency Medical Evacuation/Repatriation
- Global Direct Billing service
- Coverage in your Home country (excl. USA)
- Group rates/cost-saving and sustainable renewal option
- Value added services
- Free consultation for all insurance related matters, such as international travel insurance, Life and AD&D, Corporate Liability insurance, etc.
Who can join the Chamber’s Premier Health Insurance Plan?
Members of FBC
Contact us for more information. FBC Representative at Oriental Benefit Group:
Zikai Liu, Managing Partner
|Meet the board term 2021-2022|
|FBCS, FBCGD and FinnCham HK events: Click the logo below|