BJ/SH: Team Sweden’s Business Climate Survey 2019 launched

Beijing, 17 Jun. 2019 | The 2019 edition of the Business Climate Survey, conducted every second year by Team Sweden in China, was presented in Beijing and Shanghai on June 10 and 13 respectively.

Attending in Beijing was Ambassador Helena Sångeland and in Shanghai, Consul General Lisette Lindahl. Also in attendance were close to 30 company representatives in each city as well as representatives of Business Sweden and SwedCham.

Ambassador Helena Sångeland (m)

Introducing this year's report, Business Sweden's David Hallgren and Joakim Abeleen, as well as SwedCham's Martin Vercouter, focused on some of the key trends from the survey:

  • Respondents were 102 Swedish companies in China, represented by one top-level representative each. They were divided according to main sector of activities in Consumer (17), Professional Services (31) and Industry (54). Size-distribution is even across sizes (employee count worldwide).
  • Revenue and profit for responding companies were both growing in 2018, although in general top line is increasing faster than bottom line, and the picture is getting different across sectors. The mode of 2018 y-o-y revenue growth distribution is at +15-20%, in line with annual reports published so far (+16%). Overall 66% report revenue increase 2017-18 (compare to EU average 59%).
  • Generally speaking, professional services come out on top in terms of reported (2017-18), forecasted (2018-19) growth in revenue and profit, while Industry is showing signs of divergence between sub-sectors.
  • The Chinese market is growing in importance for group revenue: two-thirds of respondents have China in top 3, and number share of China as number 1 market increased 7pp over 2017 to 2019 (24 to 31% of respondents).
  • In line with above, 89% cite access to China market as main reason for presence in the country (In 2013: 42%) and 71% of companies doing sales do so inside China.
  • At the same time, China is rising in importance as a hub to serve APAC region (only 40% serve only China, 21% serve whole APAC). But beware of challenges with difficulties of data & capital flow across borders (see below).
  • The business climate is overall positive, up slightly from 2017, and expectations on future climate are that it will remain unchanged or improve (with less than 20% predicting a less favourable climate over coming three years), although again more nuanced when zooming in on sectors.
  • Legal and regulatory framework is #1 concern, replacing Discrimination against foreign companies, indicating that there is cautious optimism about policy promises but also continued concern about their implementation and unchanged limitations of the legal system such as uneven enforcement, overriding interests, and specific laws such as cybersecurity law, etc.
  • Swedish firm boast high quality as main competitive advantage, and focus on innovation and digitalisation (also increasingly in B2B) to compete, but have a disadvantage in cost structure and lack of access to government.
  • At the time of the survey, 50% of the respondents did not perceive any impact of the US-China trade conflict, and among impacted companies the largest group (23%) say uncertainty is delaying investment. But the picture might have changed during Q2.
  • Swedish firms, irrespective of size, see Chinese SMEs as their biggest competitors in China, while State-Owned Enterprises are only seen as a main competitor by 16% of the respondents, mostly in Industry.
  • With regard to sustainable business, responding companies are very active, 76% have CSR as part of company strategy with Environmental Issues as #1 priority.

Please see here for the full report.

 

China Business Climate Survey Joakim Abeleen Martin Vercouter
Martin Vercouter

China Business Climate Survey Joakim Abeleen Martin Vercouter
Martin Vercouter, Joakim Abeleen

China Business Climate Survey Joakim Abeleen Martin Vercouter
Martin Vercouter, Joakim Abeleen

China Business Climate Survey David Hallgren Martin Vercouter
David Hallgren, Martin Vercouter, Fredrike Tamas Hermelin

BJ: Swedish for beginners in Beijing

F.t.l. Erika Staffas, Michael Hämäläinen, Joel Peng, Yawei Du, Edward Xie, Mingli Zhi.
Min Odenbro, Juanjuan Yao, Fang Ji, Renmin Li, Sophie Wei, Heyi Hang, Jaycee Yang

Through out the spring, 12 students from China and Finland have participated in our 12 weeks long beginners course to the Swedish language. Last week we concluded the course with a grand graduation ceremony where the students showed off their newly accuired skills.

The course was specially designed by Beijing Foreign Studies University’s school of European Languages and Cultures, who today is the only University program in China where one can do graduate with a bachelor in the Swedish language.

A big thank you to our teacher Joel, and Gina from BFSU and all of the students who entrusted us with their learning. And to Yuchen and Qun who joined the class and told the students personal stories about what it is like to learn Swedish and live in Sweden as a Chinese citizen.

We would also like to send a special thanks to SWEA who contributed with their cook book “Med kniv och gaffel i Kina” as graduation gifts to the students.

Are you interested in learning Swedish with us this fall? This autumn we will start a beginner course in Shanghai starting in August that you can sign up to already now, and in Beijing you will have another chance to join a course later this fall.

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China has appointed a new general manager

The chamber’s current General Manager, Martin Vercouter, has decided to leave his position by the end of August 2019. The board of directors has therefore carried out an extensive recruitment process during the spring, with a large number of qualified applicants.

Our final candidate, Daniela Ling-Vannerus Cassmer, will join the chamber on August 1, 2019, and formally take over the position as General Manager on September 1, 2019. Daniela will have to continue the strong development and improvement of the chamber that Martin Vercouter has built during his two years as General Manager.

Daniela has a background within marketing and economics and holds a Master’s Degree in International Business from the Schiller International University of Paris. Daniela also has a strong background within international media and sales with multiple positions internationally. Daniela is a Swedish citizen, she lives in Beijing with her husband and three children and speaks Swedish, Chinese, English and French.

Martin Vercouter will work in parallel with Daniela during August and leave his position by end of August.

Any questions will be answered by the Chairman of the board, Mr. Lars-Åke Severin

+86 186-1152-1166, larsake@psuchina.com

BJ: The 5th Swedish Career Fair held in Beijing

April 20th the 5th Swedish Career Fair was held in Beijing. The Swedish Career Fair is arranged annually both in Beijing and in Shanghai and it is a platform where talented young professionals can meet with company representatives to exchange ideas and opportunities. 

This year the fair was held at Renmin University in Beijing and attracted 350 guests and 16 exhibiting companies. The guests also had the opportunity to attend seminars and learn about White Peak’s new sustainable co-living concept Stey, what it is like to work and live in Sweden through a panel discussion with the Swedish Chinese Alumni Association and how to implement a sustainable leadership from Scania as well as the possibility to take professional CV photos. 

Click here to learn more about the Swedish Career Fair

 

Are you our next Young Professionals Board Member?

Who are we?
The Swedish Young Professionals in China (YP) is the youth committee of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China. We focus on connecting young talented individuals with companies in Shanghai and Beijing through a range of activities such as company visits, midsummer parties and inspiring seminars.

What responsibilities will you have as a Board Director?
Joining the YP family means you’ll have the role as a Board Director together with four to five other young professionals in Shanghai
Engaging as a Board Director is an unpaid commitment, however we respect that your work or studies are priority
You will drive projects that you voluntarily have committed to
You will participate in as many of our events as possible

Who are you?
Knowledge in the Chinese and Swedish market
Experienced in project management, social media and WeChat
Looking to expand your network in China
Driven and excited to lead projects
Able to be creative and work well in teams
Spoken Mandarin is meritorious

How to apply?
Send an email (brief introduction and CV) to: Linn@swedcham.cn no later than April 30. Interviews will start in May.

Hope to see you! 🇸🇪🇨🇳

BJ: Compliance in Procurement – “Continuous monitoring is key”

Reducing risks, streamlining operations, and cutting costs are goals that all companies, public and private alike, have in common. But today, rather than seeing procurement solely as a transactional business function, more companies are realizing the inherent value in procurement serving as a versatile and dependent ally to the compliance department.

Yesterday the Nordic chambers jointly hosted a breakfast seminar with Sami Lindström and Alexander Ocieczek from Asia Perspective to share key considerations of an efficient corporate compliance program, and what should be borne in mind when procuring from Chinese companies.

When doing business in China, Foreign companies encounter local perspectives and assumptions that make adherence to corporate compliance programs an ever evolving and challenging effort. Because of a highly competitive and culturally different operating environment, ensuring adherence to corporate ethics and compliance policies remains a key concern and challenge for European companies purchasing from China.

Continuous monitoring is key” – said Sami Lindström during the seminar, and stressed the importance of establishing relations to suppliers, subcontractors. before the purchase. “It is important to know who they are, their location and what it is that they do for their remuneration, so that you are aware of each of the elements of their supply chain“.

Sami also pointed out the need to review suppliers’ processes to make sure that each supplier can ensure product or service quality and safety and ensure that appropriate policies, procedures and whistleblowing processes are in place and, suggested that if these processes was not yet in place, one should collaborate with suppliers to develop them.



EF No Plastic! Initiative: On A Mission to Spread Educational Knowledge

Crawling ivy, hammock chairs, bamboo screens, bird nest work stations, the place has fully embodied “green innovation” with ingenious décor ideas. Stepping into EF’s office on Jiu An Plaza, you will wonder if you have fallen into a wonderland.

The underground lobby of EF’s office building

As a global education company, EF is on a mission to open the world through education. The knowledge they are spreading is more than just language and culture, but also about environmental awareness.

“Be consistent, start small and get your colleagues
involved through education.”
– Anna Karin Toren,
EF Wellness Director

EF joined SwedCham’s No Plastic! Challenge last year but their sustainability effort can be traced back before then. In 2017, they started to actively raise awareness and screened the documentary A Plastic Ocean to trigger more green thinking.

A Plastic Ocean (2013) directed by Craig Leeson, discovers a startling amount of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

In 2018 and 2019, EF took the chance to leverage Women’s Day to promote office sustainability: a little surprise give-away to their female employees in China with beautiful bamboo cutlery kits and a set of reusable metal straws to replace single-use plastic items.

EF have come up with more daily measures to minimise the non-reusable materials. They changed all hand soaps to eco&more essential oil based products, and hosted monthly refill events for employees, which largely reduced the plastic packages.

Water filters were installed on each floor so no more plastic barrels or plastic bottles will be in used for water consumption. You can even find a full-time a-yi bustling around the in-house kitchen to cook green and healthy food for EF employees.

EF has been dedicated to making a difference by letting people be more aware of the choices they make in their everyday life and sharing ideas on how to reduce environmental footprints.

Join our upcoming Sharp Talk – Sustainable Workplace held at EF headquarter, and have a tour around their green office to see what a No Plastic! worklife is like!

BJ: Crash course to Chinese Porcelain with Antikwest

BJ: This Saturday Björn and Louise Gremner from AntikWest invited us to their exhibition hall, Jiguge Antiques, in Liulichang to share how to identify and date Chinese porcelains.

AntikWest was founded in 1971 by Björn Gremner, Managing Director and expert in Chinese porcelain and art. Their main focus is sales and marketing of Chinese antiques but they also do consulting on Chinese culture and objects. Björn Gremner is known from Swedish TV-show Antikrundan where he consults as an expert on Chinese and Japanese porcelain and art.

When looking at “Chinese Porcelain” as a whole, Björn suggests to divide the porcelain in two major groups – Chinese market porcelain and Chinese export porcelain. The Chinese market porcelain is primarily made for the Asian market and includes both the imperial ware and ordinary ware. Both of these groups often carry base marks. Antique export porcelain on the other hand, very seldom carry base marks.

The difference between antique pieces made for different markets is found both in their shapes, which depends on their intended use, and their decoration. Flat plates is a western requirement as is handles on tea cups. Most pieces you can sort up easily by comparing with textiles from the area.

The western 17th to 19th century shapes are typically flat and deep plates with condiment flanges, chargers, tea and coffee cups with or without handles, dishes, soup tureens, jugs, pitchers and the like. The Chinese common folks themselves mostly settled for soup bowls of medium size and jars for storage of different size according to what were to go in them. Small jars and boxes for condiments and this and that are the most common of the Asian market shapes.

Björn’s 3 tips for the novice collector of Chinese porcelain:
1. Buy the items outside from China – for someone with limited knowledge about Chinese antiques it is today rare to find old porcelain in China that is manufactured.
2. During the 14th – 19th centuries the porcelain was very thin, so if the porcelain is thicker it might be a replica.
3. Always look at the bases of the ceramics – the way a base of a vessel is cut, finished and glazed changes throughout the dynasties, so looking at bases can help enormously with dating and authentication.

Opening: General Manager to SwedCham China

The Chamber

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with 260 Swedish and Sweden-related member companies, officially recognized as a foreign chamber of commerce by the PRC. The Chamber is headquartered in Beijing with representation in Shanghai. Our mission is to advance our members’ business interests through Networking, Information and Advocacy. To that end, our activities include events, open seminars, closed-door dialogues, surveys, reports, white papers, as well as top-level meetings. Furthermore, we aim to improve Sino-Swedish business ties and promote our members and the Swedish brand through the Team Sweden collaboration with among others the Swedish Embassy, the Shanghai Consulate and Business Sweden, etc.

The Role

We are looking for a passionate and energetic individual to further the Chamber’s strategic development and its member-centered expansion. The position involves overall responsibility before the Board of Directors for the design and implementation of the Chamber’s business strategy, as well as the organization’s performance and financial result. The ideal candidate should display strong leadership skills in organizational change, leading a distributed organization, and cross-cultural management.

Main responsibilities:

  • Propose the Chamber’s strategy, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors, Chapter Boards, and offices.
  • Taking the leading role in shaping the Chamber’s annual business plan and budget.
  • Lead the Chamber’s day to day activities and implementation of the business and activity plan.
  • Responsible for budgeting and P&L.
  • Overall team management responsibilities for two localized offices (Beijing and Shanghai).
  • Participate in board meetings. Report to board informed about activities, development and deviations to plans and budgets.
  • Represent the Chamber in meetings with members and partners, in public and media appearances and in supporting members activities.
  • Monitor Swedish, Chinese and international business trends and ensure members are informed about relevant changes.
  • Representing the Chamber at Team Sweden activities and maintain the Chamber’s relationship with the Team Sweden members.

Your Profile

To be successful in the position, we believe that you:

  • Have a university education and 5 years working experience.
  • Business English proficiency. You are also fluent in Swedish. Mandarin proficiency is beneficial.
  • Have previous experience of working in or with China. Being currently based in China is an advantage.
  • Have a track record of management experience in a service organization, preferably membership-based.
  • Are able to build professional relationships with people at all seniority levels, from all backgrounds, and a across a wide range of industries, being visible, reachable, relationship-building and charismatic.
  • Have experience of multi-stakeholder partnerships, ideally including public, private, and non-profit actors.
  • Have experience from managing teams, including recruitment and employee development.
  • Have experience from organizing events, from smaller business seminars to large social dinners.
  • Have the possibility to travel within the country on a monthly basis, and internationally from time to time.

Practical Details

This is a full time position with local contract.

It’s a benefit if the candidate is in China already with a valid working permit.

Target starting date is June-Aug., 2019.

Apply

Applications will be processed on an ongoing basis. To apply please submit a resume with estimate of salary expectations, and visa status.

For questions regarding the position or to apply please contact:

Joakim Hedhill at: johe20@handelsbanken.cn (Beijing)

Per Lindén at: per.linden@scandicsourcing.com (Shanghai)

Questions regarding the position can also be directed to Martin Vercouter, the current holder, at martin@swedcham.cn.


BJ: Swedish Afterwork with New Dragon Partner Volvo Group

Claes Svedberg, President of Volvo (China) Investment Co., Ltd
and member of the Beijing Chapter

BJ: Last Friday 50+ guests joined our Swedish Afterwork together with our new Dragon Partner Volvo Group at Volvo Group’s favourite after work spot, Pudao wine bar in Beijing.

Claes Svedberg, President of Volvo (China) Investment Co., Ltd and member of the Beijing Chapter, initiated with welcoming all the guests and talked about Volvo Group’s 20 years in China. Today Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines.

During the Swedish Afterwork we also had the opportunity to wish a fond farewell to Claes Svedberg, who will leave his position in Beijing in March for a new assignment in Singapore.

In becoming one of SwedCham’s Dragon Partners, Volvo Group 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.