Dear Members and friends of FBCB,
Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 is now just four days away. The Olympics will start on February 4th, followed by the Paralympics on March 4th. By now one thing has become very clear: in an effort to control the pandemic, no tickets will be sold to the general public. Some particular groups have been invited to attend in person as spectators, but the rest of us will have to settle for seeing the games on TV and mobile platforms. For those living in Beijing - so close to the venue - this is naturally a big disappointment.
But as a winter sports nation, Finnish companies and the community don’t need much encouragement to get into the Winter Olympics spirit, do we? Naturally, with the theme of Together for a Shared Future, it’s also great to see our Sports Minister Antti Kurvinen attending the Olympics. A delegation of 400 Finns will travel to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics with strong prospects for Olympic medals!!
The Winter Olympics coincides with China’s biggest holiday season, the Spring Festival. Starting from February 1st, practically the whole of China is on holiday. The 7-day festival is once again causing a 40-day travel season, as many Chinese head to their home cities and combine the holiday with their annual leaves. This is the world's largest annual human migration and over 1,18 billion trips are expected to be made during this time. It's estimated that this year there will be 35.6% more trips than the year before, but this is still 60.4% less than before the pandemic. Due to the Olympics Beijing is under special restrictions, and returning to Beijing from elsewhere requires two covid tests instead of one. The new 72+48 -rule will be effective till the end of March, so there will definitely be less travel to and from Beijing - and more time to watch the Olympic games.
Last December, China unveiled its 14th Five-Year Plan for Promoting the Development of Small and Medium sized Enterprises. The document sets out to establish a pathway for 2025 that ensures an improvement in the overall development quality of SMEs, their innovation capability and specialisation level, as well as their operation and management levels. Major targets mapped out by the plan include: increasing the per capita operating income of SMEs by over 18%, increasing the annual R&D expenditure of small industrial enterprises by over 10%, and achieving an average annual growth rate of over 10% in the number of patent applications by the end of 2025. That is a welcome focus as the majority of new Finnish companies entering the market are SMEs.
To better understand how Finnish companies are doing in this turbulent business environment, we conduct an annual Business Confidence Survey together with other Finnish Business Councils in mainland China and FinnCham in Hong Kong. This year part of the survey has been formulated together with the Finland Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Results will be published in March and everyone will be invited to hear them online. If you haven’t received the questionnaire yet, we invite you to take the survey in the link below. The survey is meant for all Finnish businesses operating in China and will take 10-15 minutes to complete.
The survey link above will be open until February 20.
For businesses, the new year will properly kick off after the Chinese New Year. That is, after the Spring Festival. It will be the year of the Tiger. The tiger is known as the king of all beasts in China and is associated with bravery, confidence and strength. We have great confidence in the future of Finnish businesses here in China. Photo above is from our FBCB Annual Epiphany brunch, our every-year-tradition in January between Western and Chinese New Year.
In this month's guest writer Johann Annell, Partner of Asia Perspective, shares his interesting insights of being a foreign businessman in China.
On the behalf of FBCB I wish you all Happy Chinese New Year!
Finnish Business Council Beijing
|The Story of Finland and China|
A book about the wonderful relations of the two countries. "The friendship between countries lies in the affinity between people, and the affinity between people lies in the connection between hearts". 25 authors from both countries including diplomats, entrepreneurs, culture, education, journalism and social organization representatives have written these stories which enlighten where our more than 70 years of diplomatic relations lies on. Now available in Chinese. Later also in Finnish.
|Finland Talks Webinar Feb 9|
Topic: In search of better mental health
for sexual and gender minorities:
Reflections from Finland to Thailand
Speaker: Dr. Timo Ojanen, Foreign Expert,
Date & Time: Feb 9, 4pm - 4:45pm (CST) /
10am - 10:45am (HKI)
|Finland Talks Webinar March 23|
Topic: Future of Biofuels?
Speaker: Mr. Antti Aromäki, Managing Director
St1 Renewable Energy (Thailand) Ltd
Date & Time: March 23, 4pm - 4:45pm (CST) /
10am - 10:45am (HKI)
|Guest writer: Asia perspective - Johan Annell|
“I feel welcome”, that’s the first thought striking me as a new member of Finnish Business Council Beijing, walking into afterwork a Kerry Centro bar earlier this year. I was overwhelmed by the very welcoming atmosphere, a mix of inclusiveness and familiarity that is hard to describe and hard to maintain in a community. Here, great credit goes to the leadership of the business council, who tirelessly work on both the events and communication we see, and all the other unseen work in making members feel welcome and creating value
Our company, Asia Perspective, is not new, but has actually been around since it was founded in 2011 in Shanghai and have over the years served many large and small Finnish companies in Asia and also have an office in Helsinki. I personally am however new to the Finnish business community in Beijing and have got the pleasure recent months of getting to know many of you.
We are a lucky minority having the experience of seeing China from the inside these special times, as many who should have been here as students, tourists, business travelers and expatriates are not able to come. I do however feel “welcome in China”, at a time when many may not feel the same way. As often in China, and life in general, you do need to keep several seemingly conflicting thoughts at the same time. While the world speaks of decoupling, the physical flow of goods is impacted by shipping crisis and the mental distance grows to a mysterious China that few have seen the past two years, business in many ways rolls on and grows. Being a foreign entrepreneur in China gives me direct view on how China is continuing to encourage growth of foreign businesses, with administrative procedures that are by now quite digitalized and bearable, plenty of opportunities for matchmaking and exposure to local business partners, and initiatives to offer streamlined innovative environments such as Zhongguancun for international entrepreneurship. Also, when procedures are not so smooth, such as in setting up new bank accounts, I have been positively surprised by how helpful and patient office workers have been in “exception handling”, when I as an “edge case” walks in, working through the lunch break and figuring out ways to manage IT-systems and processes that are complicated even for Chinese citizens. Beneath the professional demeanor, I often also found a great interpersonal warmth and curiosity that makes daily life nicer, I will never forget when I had just finished a bureaucratic procedure and the civil servant behind the glass asks me “I am so curious, I have to take opportunity to ask now when I have a Chinese-speaking foreigner in front of me, ‘what do people in your country really think of China?’”, to which I could mainly answer “Most have never been here, and don’t know much about what it is like in China”.
Now we look forward to athletes and visitors feeling welcome to China when arriving in a few days for a very unique Olympics. The city is getting ready, with displays of the Olympic mascots and a sense of anticipation in the air. Even though it will be a very limited part of China that the visitors will see, it will still give the world a lot of impressions of China from a different angle than usual when the focus for a few weeks will be on sports and on the experiences of a large contingent of visitors focused on delivering extraordinary achievements during extraordinary circumstances. I hope this event, when we in a few years look back will be remembered as a great sports event, and also as a symbolic turning point after which the situation started to improve for travel, business and overall exchange.
In economics, we speak about “animal spirits”, and trying to understand how people think and act in response to “external shocks” is a great part of trying to be a step ahead in planning for future business. We have seen the pandemic shift demand towards physical goods instead of services, contributing together with supply chains that operate at restricted capacity to a very challenging situation for logistics. We now also see that inflation is truly picking up as a result of more money chasing fewer goods, with the Euro area now hitting a 5% rise in consumer prices and producer prices rising at an all time high pace. Unfortunately, the risks are great of that this situation will persist and get worse before it gets better. Inflation going from a peripheral concern to an issue that becomes a major factor in consumer and business decisions the coming years will negatively impact the real wealth production by the economy as price signals become mixed up. I also see the trend of shifting focus in the economy, where there is still tremendous value to be created from further digitalizing society, the recent year have seen the pendulum start to shift towards more focus on the basics of food and energy as areas of investment and innovation.
Recent years, we have seen steadily rising share of capital expenditure going into software, software has been proclaimed to be “eating the world” and the stock markets have been dominated by huge software-centric firms. Now the physical limits of our production systems are being felt, and the world is picking up momentum in transitioning towards global carbon neutrality, that will mean enormous capital investments and change in systems. Economics being a driving force of history, we can already now envision much of what will happen as energy production and food production systems transform and populations age, with great fortunes being made by those who can speed up this process and in doing so create foundations for new prosperity by more resilient sustainable production of the basics. Drawing parallels to 2000 years ago, there was already significant global trade, with trade from the Han-dynasty reaching Rome via the silk road, letting Chinese enjoy exotic goods such as amber and Romans enjoy garments made of Silk. Still, the economy was mainly regional, with grain shipped around the Mediterranean being a primary concern of the Roman empire and the Chinese administrators likewise mainly concerned with food. Then, through periods of prosperity, the share of globally traded goods and the ideas following merchants have increased, and periodically waned, but never before has there been such a globally shared challenge such as climate change and energy transition that necessitate millions of economic actors changing in such short time to diffuse technical innovations and make large capital investments. What is encouraging is that the technology already exists, the challenge is in economics and management to roll out great change in the most efficient way.
We are about to enter the year of the Tiger, an animal with associations to bravery and strength, and also to being a lone hunter and representing danger. I look much forward to this year with the Finnish Business Council, and being part of learning and contributing to what will be a year of great changes and new beginnings in China. I also look forward to a great start of the year, with Nordic athletes showing what we are famous for, lifestyles with much exercise, close to nature in cold climate with great team fighting spirit!
Partner, Asia Perspective
|Traditional Epiphany Brunch - Jan 9|
End of the Western year, end of the Christmas Season, towards Chinese New Year. This is the timeslot FBCB Epiphany brunch, an appreciation brunch for our companies, have taken place already for 20 years, marking our longest tradition. This year around 30 member company leaders, Business Finland and Embassy representatives gathered for Sunday brunch. We, Chairman Juha Tuominen and Executive Director Ulla Nurmenniemi, thank you for being part of our business community.
|Women-In-Business Special: Buffet with Ambassador & Finnish Sauna Jan 14|
FBCB Business women experienced an unique event when Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola shared her life and career insights with 25 active female leaders from different industries. Followed by buffet, mingle and real Finnish Sauna. The Sauna was a first-time-experience for many of the participants, and seemingly a pleasant one. These empowering gatherings have a growing importance for participants, as it provides an opportunity to meet like-minded people and create new business opportunities.
|Finnish language online courses Dec 5 - Jan 30|
A total of 8 lessons in the beginners course, and another 8 lessons in the advanced course of Finnish languages are again behind. Big thanks to our online teacher Emiel Riiko for making the courses so interactive and interesting, that they have been full one after another. Now Finnish courses go at least to Spring Festival break. Welcome new and old students to join again on late spring.
|Working visit to Capital Intellectual Property Services Association Jan 19|
FBCB visited already second time the Capital Intellectual Property Services Association. Focus for this visit was a long-term cooperation between the two organizations. IP rights continue to be an important issue for all businesses landing to China. The concrete cooperation kicks of by a webinar at the end of February. Date and time tbc later.
|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|