Finland expects extra Chinese language traders, acts as springboard to Europe

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HELSINKI, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — Finnish politicians and representatives of local business organizations on Monday voiced their willingness to receive more Chinese investments and to help Chinese high-tech companies to enter the European market via Finland.

The remarks were made at a ceremony marking the establishment of Chinese Enterprises Association in Finland.

The association was seen as a milestone of Chinese business in Finland as it demonstrates a Chinese high tech community is forming up here. Led by Zhongguancun Development Group, COSCO Shipping Lines and Huawei, the association comprises some 20 enterprises, which are mainly high tech innovative companies.

A plaque was unveiled at the ceremony, attended by nearly 100 guests from the Finnish business society.

There has been an increasing interest by Chinese companies to invest in Finland in recent years. The total amount of Chinese investment in Finland stands at nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars, covering ICT, software, cleantech, bioeconomy, high end manufacturing, according to the Chinese Ambassador Chen Li.

Antti Aumo, head of Invest in Finland, recalled that the accumulated value of Chinese investment to Finland from 1950 to 2012 was no more than 100 million dollars, whereas the year 2016 alone witnessed 6.9 billion euros. The focus has shifted from sales of products to high tech innovation.

Aumo described a typical business cycle as the investments bring competitive solutions and products back to China, and achieve a win-win result: “Finnish companies get more profit from the sales, thus increasing their evaluation, and the Chinese companies will also get more profits as the competitiveness of their products is strengthened.”

The Chinese business could also expand their business to the rest of the European market via Finnish businesses or Finnish partners, he added.

Aumo hoped more Chinese high tech companies enter the European market “utilizing Finland as their foothold”.

Talking about the emerging worry about Chinese investment in Europe, Jari Gustafsson, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, said many people want to know how much the Chinese investors want to buy.

“That doesn’t mean we are not welcoming them,” he said. “In Finland especially we have just seen the beginning of the Chinese investment and we are looking forward to seeing much more in the future,” he told Xinhua.

The former Finnish Ambassador to China said he believed the newly set up association would provide a good platform for the Chinese companies to get together, exchange their views, and help them to network with the Finnish business community other than just standing alone.

Contrary to some of the European concerns that Chinese companies tend to buy the technologies and simply leave, the ones that have invested in Finland stay and create job opportunities, said Zhu Ziqi, chairman of the association.

He told Xinhua the association members were planning to invite a Finnish third party institute to assess what benefits the Chinese investments have brought to Finland. He believed the result of such an independent research will appease the worriers.

Zhu admitted that Chinese investors have learned a lot. The management of a company needs to get along with the trade unions, which had been neglected by many Chinese investors before they came.

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