Finland has a long and successful history with ice hockey and now this expertise is being made into an export product. A new company has ambitious plans to take the Finnish ice hockey education to China.
Europe-Asia Economic and Culture Exchange Center (EAEC) is on a mission. The company was established in Helsinki, Finland in early 2016 to improve ice hockey education in China through cooperation with Finnish partners.
“Ever since Beijing was chosen to host the winter Olympic games [in 2022], winter sports have become more and more popular in China. The market demand is increasing,” EAEC spokesperson explained the decision.
The company’s export plans cover various sectors. EAEC will work with partners in Finland to organise a training camp for Chinese junior players in the country, recruit experienced ice hockey coaches for Chinese clubs and schools teams as well as export Finnish and European ice hockey products (such as equipment and ice hockey rinks) to China. Eventually the goal is to jointly organise an invitational ice hockey tournament between Europe and China for youth players.
Although these plans are still at very early stages, the company is building up its operations in Finland. Currently the company employs one coordinator in Helsinki and aims to hire one more next year and grow the company steadily after that.
The story of EAEC started in late 2015 when its founder visited Finland for the first time. Helsinki Business Hub facilitated the visit by arranging meetings with various companies, organisations and sport clubs in the capital region. It was this support in bringing together relevant potential partners that EAEC found particularly beneficial.
After getting to know the partner opportunities in Finland – combined with the Nordic country’s long history with ice hockey and strong business environment – it was clear to EAEC founders that Helsinki was the right location to start a company exporting ice hockey education. Helsinki Business Hub also supported EAEC in the official registration process.
Currently the company is discussing possible partnership options with Finnish universities, sports centres and ice hockey clubs. The idea is to start the cooperation with youth training camps both in China and Finland.
Ice hockey is not a yet a big sport in China, but EAEC believes its popularity will grow quickly. And while the most well-known countries in the sport are Canada and the US, Finland has become increasingly popular due to its disproportionate success in recent years. Consequently EAEC is confident there is a great potential in the business and wants to keep developing it both in China and Finland.
Text: Eeva Haaramo