It will come as no surprise that the coronavirus covid-19 has had a severe effect on the Team Sweden promotion activities scheduled for spring 2020. Although the Consulate General in Shanghai has been kept open as usual throughout this period, many of the events planned for the first half of the year have been postponed or cancelled. The number of visa applications have plummeted. The situation will surely be quite similar for most of our readers based here in China. To compensate for the restrictions on physical gatherings we have had the opportunity to try new ways of operating.
Firstly, Team Sweden actors have given support to both individuals and companies in need of assistance. The nature of such support has been quite diverse.
Secondly, we have explored new working methods and modes of communication, both internally and with external actors. Thirdly, we have attempted to be creative by increasing our level of activity online and on social media. More on that in the articles below.
As for ongoing initiatives, I would like to mention that the Team Sweden Business Climate Study 2020 is about to be launched. Given the global uncertainties, it is increasingly important to keep track of the state of Swedish business in China. I want to encourage eligible readers to take part in the survey, as the result is highly valuable to all of you, as well as to the government of Sweden. We look forward to presenting the results of the survey later this year, when things are hopefully back to normal.
Consul General, Shanghai
The webinars were given by Joakim Abeleen from Business Sweden, Lennart Nilsson from the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, and Lisette Lindahl from the Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai, and moderated by Lars-Åke Severin, CEO of PSU China and Chairman of Swedcham China.
In the Q&A, the panelists addressed the questions of most concern of the Swedish/Nordic companies and other institutions. Issues such as sources of information, business law, regulation, local financial support, subsidies, travel advice, etc., were discussed.
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Business Sweden has executed two surveys to the Swedish business community about the business implications of Covid-19 – one in mid-February, and the second one in mid-March. The survey shows that production is gradually resuming, while sales is still being impacted and is expected to be negatively hit over the coming 3-6 months. Not only reduced demand, but also travel restrictions, are key factors behind the sales challenges. Initiatives related to shifting supply chains and work elsewhere have become less popular over the last month, as markets outside China are now in many cases worse off from a Covid-19 perspective. For the full report and analysis, visit: https://www.swedcham.cn/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Covid-19-template-1.pdf
The Embassy and Business Sweden organized a visit to China Xiong’an Group on January 17th 2020. Energy Counsellor Magnus Carnwall led the delegation of eight Swedish companies. The visit was received by Deputy Director, Party and Government Office of Xiong’an New Area and high-level managers of China Xiong’an Group.
Participating companies were ABB, Alfa Laval, Envac, Ericsson, IVL, Sweco, Termoekonomi, Zander & Ingeström.
The Consulate General took part in TEDx ZizhuParkWomen 2019 at Shanghai Zizhu National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone on December 6. Consul General Lisette Lindahl gave a TED Talk on gender equality in Sweden
. As part of the program, the equality- and inclusiveness-themed exhibition “Beyond the Norms: Images that Change the World” was shown at the venue and has been touring in various parts of the Zhizhu Park since then.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus covid-19, the Consulate General has intensified its communication with Chinese social media followers. Up till 8 March, 13 posts have been published on the Consulate’s WeChat platform, accumulating 28 832 views. Topics related to the coronavirus, ranging from Swedish companies’ anti-virus efforts and a Swedish ice hockey coach staying in Wuhan, to how wild game is consumed in Sweden and Valentine’s greeting campaign with masks as prizes, have received most of the attention (24 257 views and the campaign post more than one hundred comments). The increased online activity has contributed to generating goodwill towards Sweden among the Chinese general public.
The new Head of the Economic Section at the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing, Counsellor Lennart Nilsson, paid a visit to Guangdong province in mid-December last year. The aim of the visit was to receive a fuller and clearer picture of recent developments in Guangdong and the Greater Bay Area. This was the third such visit carried out in 2019. The first visit focused on the next generation of transportation and energy, the second visit focused on the life sciences and health care. The third trip’s focus was on agriculture and forestry related businesses. The counsellor and his delegation also sought to meet with Swedish organizations and to deepen knowledge of the general economic development of the area. Meetings with local commerce authorities were also held.
Ambassador Helena Sångeland hosted a CEO breakfast in the Swedish residence on March 18 for a discussion with leaders of Swedish companies in China. The topic was how the economy has been affected by measures taken by governments, companies and the public in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Business Sweden and Swedcham introduced findings from a recent survey regarding the impact on Swedish business in China. Compared to a similar survey carried out a month earlier many companies reported that their ability to produce had improved, but sales were still equally negatively impacted.
Textile recycling is attracting increasing attention from the public, government and business in China. There are both opportunities and challenges. In Sweden, fashion circulation is considered as a revolution for the industry, and new [exciting] business models are emerging. To facilitate more mutual exchange and learning in this field, the CSR Centre and China Association of Circular Economy carried out a joint study on development of textile recycling in China in 2019. Areport wasfinalized last month. Giving an overview of textile recycling in China, including policy making, business development, technical trends, opportunities and challenges, the report also introduces some major research projects, innovative initiatives and business practices of textile recycling in Sweden. The report will be published as a book in Chinese in 2020.
Joakim Abeleen, Market Area Director Greater China, Business Sweden together with Sweden-based KOL (Key Opinion Leader) Sara Shi presented at a breakfast seminar in Stockholm March 3rd hosted by Sweden-China Trade Council. Sara Shi is a major influencer in China for Nordic brands and lifestyle within the mother/baby segment and has over 300 000 followers on Chinese social media.
Business Sweden’s brand-new report “China’s New Consumers” has been launched and presented at several retail focused seminars in both Sweden and China. “China’s New Consumers” investigates the consumer behavior and product/brand preferences based on 1,500 consumers from tier 1 cities in China along with insights from Key Opinion Leaders and business leaders. Read the full report here: https://www.business-sweden.com/insights/reports/chinas-new-consumers/
On March 5th the International Trade Day in Gothenburg was successfully arranged. It’s an annual event hosted by the West Sweden Chamber of Commerce with the aim to inspire companies in the region to grow internationally. Speakers from Mexico, France, Japan, India and China were invited, as well as Swedish entrepreneurs active on these markets. Johan Lennefalk, Office Manager in Hong Kong at Business Sweden, presented opportunities in the Greater Bay Area, sharing the stage with Joel Rozada, founder and CEO of The Techno Creatives, an innovation and technology focused company with presence in Shenzhen. Due to COVID-19 concerns Johan called in via Skype, but as one of Joel’s main points was to use digital tools, this turned out to be a very suitable case in point on how to bridge distance and time zones. Roughly 70 people attended, and the session was followed by a Q&A session, with numerous companies expressing interest for the region. There was also presentation focusing on the consumer market in China, with Swedish retail brands attending to discuss these opportunities.
Visit Sweden has called off the planned press trips and agent study trips from China to Sweden since late January. Instead, a couple of online travel webinars as well as a Wechat-based travel academy are offered towards the tour operators and the public audience.
On February 12th SwedCham had its first Webinar, and since then we have initiated and organized 14 virtual events until end of March, attracting more than 440 participants in total.
The majority of our virtual events have had a focus on COVID-19 and the implications for Swedish companies operating in China.
On March 27th, SwedCham together with PSU will launch weekly News Flash Webinars on current and ongoing situation in China.
Numerous members of SwedCham China have helped China with donations and support during the COVID-19 situation. We are particularly proud of our members Atlas Copco, Volvo Group, Volvo Cars, Elekta, IKEA, and others that have contributed in the relief efforts. We are all in this together!
March 26: SwedCham Webinar: 5G & AI, step into Intelligent world!
March 27:SwedCham Webinar: Weekly China News Flash
: Consulate General in Shanghai hosts a Team Sweden meeting
March 30: SwedCham: Swedish online course
April 3 : SwedCham Webinar: Leadership Development- From Potential to Value
April 7 : SwedCham Webinar: How to get your Dream job?
April 8: SwedCham Webinar: Rebuild, Enhance & Cost Optimizing the Supply Chain System
April 15: SwedCham Workshop: Organisational Change And Risk Management (In Chinese)