Statement regarding SVT’s “Svenska Nyheter” from Sept. 21, 2018

Beijing, 26 Sept. 2018

中国瑞典商会就瑞典SVT电视台讽刺短剧“Svenska Nyheter”栏目于2018921日播出的内容发表以下评论:

该节目播出了描写来瑞典旅游的中国游客的两分钟“信息短片”。因为这部短片含有讽刺性质,中国瑞典商会表示深切关心我们的会员、合作伙伴、 朋友及家人的感受, 因为短片所提供的影像内容负面而极易被视作冒犯,甚至被视为是种族歧视。

作为一个致力于促进中瑞贸易和投资的商业组织,我们对这部“信息短片”的发布感到非常遗憾。例如,瑞典企业是一直被视为极具吸引力的企业雇主,瑞典企业的员工流动率低于平均水平,这主要归功于瑞典高度开放和包容的企业文化。

我们充分认识言论自由的重要性,也尊重个人言论自由,因此,言论发布者理当对他所发表的内容负全部责任。这部短片并不代表瑞典人民对中国人民的看法。

林奇辉 (Lars-Åke Severin)
董事长

冯茂天 (Martin Vercouter)
总经理

 

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China would like to make the following comments regarding the satirical segment “Svenska Nyheter” that aired on the Swedish television channel SVT on September 21, 2018:

The show in question contains a two-minute “Information Film” for Chinese tourists travelling in Sweden. While this film is intended to be satirical, we are deeply concerned about the image it provides to members, partners, friends and families in the Chinese community since it contains negative stereotypes in a manner that can easily be seen as offensive or even racist.

We find this “Information Film” highly regrettable, and not representative of the views that the Swedish people hold of the Chinese people. Swedish companies, for example, are highly attractive employers, boasting a lower-than-average employee turnover due in particular to their open and inclusive culture.

We fully recognize the importance of upholding the freedom of speech, and free expression of individuals. As such, it should be recognized that the responsibility for the content lies with its producer alone.

Sincerely,

Lars-Åke Severin
Chairman of the Board

Martin Vercouter
General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Manager to SwedCham’s Shanghai Office

Shanghai, 27 Jul. 2018 | SwedCham is proud to present the newest addition to our team, Emma Lindgren, who is taking over the Shanghai office from September.

Emma has for the past seven years worked with PR and communications for global, stock-listed companies, and as a communications consultant. Throughout her career, she has mainly focused on corporate and government affairs, as well as change management, largely within the fields of digital and organizational communication. Emma has also established her own business within PR and communications in Sweden, which is her present assignment. About her motivation for the role, she says the following:

Since I came to Shanghai six months ago I have been impressed by the Chinese entrepreneurship, the country’s ability to digitally transform, and the strong presence Swedish companies have established despite hard competition and complexity in society. In light of a changing global environment, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China will play a vital role and I look forward to utilizing my experience and expertise in strategic communications to continue the work of bringing our members even closer together and to further strengthen their united voice.

As such, Emma will be tasked with ensuring the continuity of member services, while developing new ways to boost the Chamber’s position as the natural loudspeaker for Swedish companies in China. Martin Vercouter, General Manager:

What Emma was able to demonstrate throughout the recruitment process is a tremendous motivation and clear ambition, on top of relevant professional experience. Given her background, I am confident that she will be a great addition to our team. And last but not least, I would like to wish her a warm welcome on board!

Emma will take up her position on September 1st. Marianne Westerback, who is leaving us after four years of excellent collaboration, will be assisting with the transition period to ensure a smooth hand-over. Questions and inquiries can be sent to martin@swedcham.cn.

 

Breaking: Swedish and Swiss Chambers in China to Merge

Note: Thank you for your many amused reactions. We have of course no plans to merge and refer to the date of publication for further explanation. Meanwhile, you can visit our Swiss friends at: http://cn.swisscham.org .

In recognition of brand similarities, and to avoid further confusion, SwedCham and SwissCham China have decided to merge. The move is expected to be completed over the following months, with the Swederland Chamber of Commerce in China ready for business by the early summer.

We look forward to combining our strengths and resources to provide better service to our member companies. There are a lot of areas for understanding: both countries being located in Europe have a history of neutrality, are great skiing nations and offer a world-class business environment

Some aspects of the merger, however still remain subject to negotiations. While Switzerland has Lindt and Federer, Sweden has Marabou and JO Waldner. The relative qualities of the Emmentaler and Västerbotten cheeses are also the subject of intense discussions, as is the primacy of the Swiss Army knife or Swedish osthyvel (cheese slicer).

Yet these hotly debated issues don’t discourage Martin Vercouter, General Manager at the Swedish Chamber:

Of course, we still need to work out some of the details. The Swiss are a bit slow to disclose their financial statements, but there is no cow on the ice or fire to the lake.

Laura Fleming, GM for SwissCham in Beijing, is similarly upbeat:

Switzerland has always been very welcoming to Swedish companies, so there is nothing here that hasn’t been tried before”.

The merge comes as a natural step to develop both chambers and we are glad to embark on this journey with our members.

Enquiries can be addressed to martin@swedcham.cn

AGM: Time to nominate candidates

Dear Members,

The election committee has started work to prepare its proposal for a new Main Board of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China. The proposal needs to be finalized by middle of March and will be presented to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 20th.

We are now looking for new candidates for our proposal. Please communicate any nominations to any of the members of the election committee per email.

We appreciate to receive below information attached with any nomination.

1. Name and Contact Information.
2. Representing which Member.
3. Recent CV or Resume.
4. Mission Statement.
5. Photo.

Deadline March 16th, 2018.

Thank you,
Bjorn, Dan, Alexander & Mats

Contact Information
Björn Berggren
Alexander de Freitas
Dan Landegren
Mats Harborn

Statement regarding the YP SH Xmas Party

It has come to our attention that an alleged count of sexual harassment has been reported during the Swedish Young Professionals Shanghai’s Christmas Party.

We condemn any such acts in the strongest possible terms, as such behaviour has no place in the egalitarian environment we strive to foster.

We are fully prepared to assist the victim in any investigation or other relevant process, as well as support our Young Professionals in creating festive conditions that are safe for everyone.

Sincerely,
Martin Vercouter
General Manager SwedCham China

Finnair steps up as new Dragon Partner

Finnair
Robert Öhrnberg, GM Greater China, Finnair (left) and Martin Vercouter, GM, SwedCham China (right)

In the latest addition to its Dragon Partners, SwedCham China is glad to strengthen its collaboration with Finnair. The recent months saw the airline sign a strategic partnership with e-commerce giant JD.com, introduce WeChat payments and announce Nanjing as its 7th destination in Greater China. Starting from December 1, the carrier also joins SwedCham's top-tier supporters. Robert Öhrnberg, GM Greater China:

Finnair is really happy and honored to join the Swedish Chamber's Dragon Partners, and we are very excited to develop our partnership moving forward to create mutual added value for all the members of Swedish Chamber in China!

In doing so, Finnair joins Atlas Copco, Handelsbanken, Mannheimer Swartling, Syntronics and Volvo Cars. Dragon Partners are important contributors to SwedCham's ability to serve its members, and by extension a great support for the Swedish business life in China.

Interested in becoming a Dragon Partner? Contact martin@swedcham.cn for more information.

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BJ: SSIEC Inauguration Ceremony

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The Sino-Swedish Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center was inaugurated today in the presence of among other guests SwedCham China's General Manager Martin Vercouter:

Looking at the development of entrepreneurship in China, it is incredible the long way we have come in just a few years. [...] I believe startups have a growing importance in the business networks, so as a Chamber we are looking forward to collaborating with the SSIEC.

The Center, located in the Zhongguancun-run Hangxing International Science Park, aims to facilitate the establishment of Swedish startups in China by providing a working environment and support platform.

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Mats Harborn receives 2017 Honorary Award

Mats Harbon - Honorary Award 2017 | Viktoria Chan - Young Professional of the Year 2017
Mats Harbon (r), Honorary Award 2017 and Viktoria Chan (l), Young Professional of the Year 2017

Shanghai, 5 May 2017 | In keeping with a long tradition, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China is proud to present its 2017 Honorary Award to Mr. Mats Harborn, with the following motivation:

“Mats Harborn has for the past 25 years […] developed into one of the most prominent Swedes working in China, and one of the major promoters of Swedish enterprises in China. […] Through his great commitment as former Chairman of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China and as vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, Mats Harborn has created increased opportunities for Swedish enterprises to develop and succeed in China. Mats Harborn is, through his sincere interest in China, its culture, language and people, a person who creates opportunities for increased understanding and dialogue needed between people and companies in an international environment […].”

The award was handed over at the Swedish Chamber’s annual Spring Gala, in the presence of the Consul General of Sweden in Shanghai Ms. Lisette Lindahl, by Chairman of the board Lars-Åke Severin (PSU Consulting). “Mats is a personal source of inspiration.”, he says, “whenever I am in doubt I look up at him. He is a tremendous driving force in the dialogue between foreign firms and China.”

Besides a historical role with the Swedish Chamber, Mr. Mats Harborn has a long professional experience of China, working for Handelsbanken, the Swedish Trade Council in China and as the founder of Scania in China. He is also a familiar feature in the Executive programme at the Stockholm School of Economics, lecturing about Chinese culture, politics and business. In recent years, his passion for advocacy also saw him taking on the vice-presidency of the European Chamber of Commerce in China.

Swedish Companies and China’s Digitalization

Background

China is, among other current reforms, shifting its economy towards more value-added sectors of the global production chain, as part of the “Made in China 2025” strategy. Underlying is a drive towards applying the tools of information technology to production. Digitalization can be seen as a vital component in achieving these goals, as detailed in the State Council documents outlining the plan back in 2015.

In parallel, China is witnessing the rapid development of e-commerce as a mainstream phenomenon. By February 2017, e-commerce represented 15.5% of total retail sales in the country, having generated ¥5.16 trillion in sales in 2016 according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics.
It is, accordingly, no surprise that Swedish companies in China are now considering digitalization a main strategic priority, with 1 in 10 putting it ahead of all others.

prioritiesdigitalization
Outlook

The broader picture for Swedish enterprises in China appears rather positive with the Chinese market being considered one of the most important for the interviewed Swedish firms and almost two thirds of the respondents to the Business Confidence Survey looking at increasing investments in the country during 2017.

Among the companies interviewed for this paper, there is a consensus recognizing enormous opportunities offered by this push towards digitalization for “lowering costs with more efficient processes, purchasing and marketing [...] both in terms of market access and process development”. Swedish companies are moving to position themselves in that respect, with all of the respondents indicating that they already have or are currently developing a digital strategy.

Hurdles

The two single most important challenges affecting the respondents to this years Business Confidence Survey are a perceived discrimination against foreign companies by the Chinese authorities as well as difficulty of access to skilled labor.

In terms of digitalization more specifically, the issue raised most often is that of the recently implemented cyber-security law, as it “seems somewhat unclear exactly how the new law will be implemented, and the consequences [it] will have for companies”. In particular, the ability to transfer customer and employee data in and out of the country, as well as an announced crackdown on VPN providers, affecting the connectivity of foreign firms, are pointed at.