China’s market leader in urban wayfinding and space visualisation systems ShiYu is looking to expand its market reach to Europe. Convinced by Nordic quality of life and Greater Helsinki’s business environment, the company decided to lead its European operations from Espoo – something Helsinki Business Hub helped make a reality.
ShiYu first considered setting up their European hub in Denmark. In the end, Greater Helsinki took the win.
“We are a foreign company, starting out small and offering something completely new in the market. We felt that the business environment in Finland could be somewhat more open minded, and that it might be easier to expand our business here. ShiYu has been cooperating with Nordic experts for a long time, and Finland is highly ranked in education, innovation, quality-of-life, happiness, safety etc. All in all, we had had very positive experiences about Finland. We also found a wayfinding design competition here right away – improving shopping centre REDI’s wayfinding system. Out of some 200 suggestions that participated in the open call, we received the runner-up award,” explains Xing Shi, Chief Nordic Representative of Beijing ShiYu Four-Dimension Wayfinding System Planning & Designing Co. Ltd.
Helsinki Business Hub provided us with valuable information about setting up a company locally, linked us with several useful service providers and helped us establish our Finnish subsidiary. Our HBH contacts were extremely helpful and active.
Xing Shi, Chief Nordic Representative, ShiYu
Space visualisation in 4D
ShiYu describes itself as the designer of four-dimensional wayfinding systems. The fourth dimension is the added touch, that extra mile, that has made the company number one in China.
“ShiYu’s expertise is creating systems and products that truly help people understand their physical reality in an expanded way, helping them position themselves better than just in three dimensions. We call that added value the fourth dimension. We have a deep understanding of customer behaviour and place importance on design. We know that wayfinding can really make or break the customer experience, and that this information can be used effectively to finalize the branding of a space and highlight the theme of the location,” Shi describes.
Placing value on design goes as far as company structure: ShiYu currently has 126 employees, with their diverse design team accounting for more than 90 people. Each project is tailored for the space, brand and user resulting in informatised and multifaceted space visualisation. ShiYu’s award-winning solutions combine 3D-modeling, orientation, service design and graphic design as well as growing amounts of cutting-edge high-tech.
ShiYu’s applications include traffic and transport, urban areas like office parks, themed areas such as airports, giant traffic hubs, urban intelligent signage and commercial real-estate projects ranging from shopping centres to apartment building complexes and tourist-aimed attractions to schools and hotels. In addition to individual projects, ShiYu has cooperated with China Standards Research Institution, Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning & Design and the Chinese transport administration to carry out 10 national standards and 5 regional standards for the wayfinding visualisation systems in China. ShiYu also developed corporate wayfinding standards for several top Chinese real estate companies.
Finland is a window to the European market. We hope to serve a wide clientele from Greater Helsinki in the future.
Xing Shi, Chief Nordic Representative, ShiYu
Practical help and personal service in Chinese
Once ShiYu expressed an interest in the Greater Helsinki market through a common business contact, Helsinki Business Hub stepped in and hosted a ShiYu delegation from Beijing. Together with Business Finland, they provided the company with a feasibility study and consulted on the best way to proceed.
“Helsinki Business Hub provided us with valuable information about setting up a company locally, linked us with several useful service providers and helped us establish our Finnish subsidiary. Our HBH contacts were extremely helpful and active. Working with Mr. Xin Wang was truly valuable to us, as he communicated with our Chinese team in Chinese diminishing language barriers,” Shi recounts.
Greater Helsinki-based and Europe-bound
Currently the Finnish branch of ShiYu is looking new wayfinding and landscape design projects in the local market here in Finland. Initially experiences have been very positive, and the newcomer has been greeted with open arms. Although the Finnish market is relatively small and limited, Shi sees a lot of potential:
“Finland’s market size is small, but quality is high! We are happy to serve the local market here in the Nordic countries, but for us Finland is more than that – it is a window to the European market. We hope to serve a wide clientele from Greater Helsinki in the future. I also think that we can serve as a good example for other Chinese companies, to get them interested in Finland by showing them what we are doing here.”
As we move over to the new decade, ShiYu Finland is devoting 2020 to establishing their foothold locally, including the Nordic Countries. The company estimates having 5 local employees by the end of the year 2020. In China, the company is currently developing digital integrations and solutions into their space visualisation products and wayfinding. Digitalisation is something ShiYu is hoping to utilise more and more, and it is looking to partner up with Finnish companies to do so. New projects and EU expansion will surely keep the partnership with Helsinki Business Hub active in the near future as well.