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.
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 email@example.com.
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 hasLindt 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.