Find the September Newsletter here!
By Madeleine Persson
Find the September Newsletter here!
We were welcomed back to Sweden after eight days in China with heavy snowfall, cold temperatures, a few days of crisp air and blue sky’s…now we’re back to normal with rain, of course, but it was nice while it lasted.
The trip to China has been both a challenge and a success. For a person of great fondness for planning, structure, keeping times etc. it was trying at times. My first ever Chinese vocabulary – bié dān xīn, meaning don’t worry about it became a mantra. As always with China, it is a steep but quick learning curve and I feel more equipped for next time already, and yes of course there will be a next time, we’re only getting started!
We went into this week with the determination to showcase our Nordic cleantech companies, put them in one-to-one meetings with the most relevant Chinese partners, buyers etc., give them more knowledge on how to do business in China and take them to different cities where they could meet a new group of relevant and interesting parties.
First stop was in Shanghai and Lingang, which you can read more about in length in previous posts. The third day took us to the city of Hangzhou where we had a lovely lunch. I almost accidently ate some toad, thinking it was chicken, must say I’m a little pleased I missed that even tough I like to try new things…just not toads. In the afternoon we had a more relaxed type of event/meeting where the cleantech companies pitched in front of local city officials and industry who were all very pleased to see companies all the way from the Nordics. Between the steaming coffee in the café, where the event was held, one-to-one meetings were arranged as well. The day was ended by a lovely bus ride around the West Lake, said to be the most beautiful lake in China. We’ll sadly have to take them on their word as we where late and it was pitch dark. We were further invited to a superb dinner on the lake, which turned out to be a lovely evening with some really constructive discussions. Stay tuned to learn more on how that develops.
The final day we went to Jiaxing, for a tour of CECEP, which is one of the largest cleantech industries in the world. We got the opportunity to see several of their different parks and technologies that exists under their roof. In the afternoon we had meetings with Jiaxing city and even further business opportunities where found, both for the accelerator companies and us. The evening was spent back in Shanghai were we went to an old Chinese restaurant with a live show, we got the opportunity to try all of Shanghai’s specialties, I’ll give no comments on that….
Now we’re back in the office and so begins all the exiting follow up to build the next step of our journey, time for action!
On Wednesday we arrived at the Showcase in Lingang, to be meet by some 120 Chinese investor, industries and city officials eager to learn about Nordic technologies. The day started of with a ceremonious inauguration of the China Cleantech Accelerator, located in the same building as the event. Further we got to listen to an interesting Cross Boarder Activities discussion led by Julien Mialaret from Idinvest Partners, who was joined on stage by Daniel Zhu from China Ecofund, Peter Corne from Dorsey & Whitney in Shanghai, Francoise Vuille from Softcar and Michael Hammons from Sustainable Growth Management. Much like the training in Deloitte this also led to the conclusion that to do business successfully in China, you need to take your time. Also a valuable lesson is to realize the cultural difference in cross boarder contract signing. The importance is interpreted differently, in Europe this means that the the project will be executed once the contract is signed whereas in China the contract signing rather means that you have agreed on the basics but not the details as they will be determined in the process after. The Chinese view of a contract is in a way more flexible which means that the role of the project manager is very important and the relationship to the customer needs to be solid in order for them to respect the contact.
Further we heard four of our accelerator companies pitch in front of the audience which generated a lot of questions and interesting meeting opportunities. We are very glad that Arc Aroma Pure, Wirepas, Oliotalo and Cityntel could join us for this event to show of their products/services. This it the first step of the journey to potentially enter the Chinese market.
The day was concluded with a networking dinner at the newly built Crown Plaza Hotel with all what Chinas cuisine has to offer. Tomorrow we’re off to Hangzhou for more meetings and networking.
The first day of the Shanghai Showcase, yesterday, was focused on training on how to do business in China for the Nordic Accelerator Companies and European entrepreneurs. We were hosted by Deloitte who gave a very good insight on the first things you need to know when considering doing business in China from a tax, accounting and legal aspect.
Further we had inspirational and informative speeches from Andreas Engström, Invest in Skåne who have worked and lived in Shanghai for 17 years, Oscar Jazdowski of Silicon Valley Bank talked about innovative ways to finance cleantech companies in China. Francois Vuille of Softcar touched on the subject of the perceived risk for European entrepreneurs when transferring tech to China, whereas Kangping Tao of Shanghai Sofku New Energy Company gave an overview of the EV and related markets in China.
The message that was clearest of them all – there are opportunities in abundance for cleantech companies in China BUT come prepared and plan very carefully what it is you really offer and with whom you will work. In doing do you avoid to fall on the first hurdle.
The day was wrapped up by a lovely dinner hosted by Yancheng city in one of the busy restaurants in the city.
All in all a very good start to the week.
In the fourth film Stefan Henningsson, Senior advisor for climate innovation, at WWF is featured. Stefan talks about the key success factors when trying to reach China, the support that is needed for entrepreneurs in this context and the need to see a Nordic innovation center established over then next couple of years, which can be a hub for both Nordic and all other cleantech companies wanting to grow around the world.
Don’t miss our upcoming Showcase in Shanghai the 17-20th of November 2015, where we bring Nordic cleantech companies together with Chinese investor, industries and city officials. We will on the 18/11 also inaugurate the China Cleantech Accelerator, which will help Nordic and other cleantech companies grow on the Chinese market. Read more here.
This fall we will feature some 6 Cleantech in Focus episodes with current cleantech related tops. The second film features Nicholas Parker, Managing Partner, Global Acceleration Partners. The subjects discussed if of how cleantech is changing the world we live in, key strategies to reach emerging markets and tips for start-ups that target the Chinese market.
Don’t miss out upcoming Showcase in Shanghai the 17-20th of November 2015 if you’re interested in the Chinese market.
Don’t miss the new Nordic-China Cleantech Bridge Podcast. In this episode of the Green Exchange we’re looking at China and how the Nordic Countries can build long-lasting successes with this country that keep the cleantech world dreaming.