Beijing-based industrial automation and intelligent manufacturing company Yorotek decided to set up its first foreign subsidiary in Finland. Yorotek’s Finnish unit will serve as an R&D center for the entire company, with plans to hire some 15 employees in the Helsinki area in the next two years. Helsinki Business Hub made the launch easier and the Chinese community in the Greater Helsinki region helped in building connections.
Yorotek was founded in Beijing in 2015, when four industrial automation companies merged to join their forces. The company has now three offices in Beijing, with 45 employees and a turnover of 16.5 million euros in 2018. Yorotek specializes in industrial automation products, instruments, sensors, technical services, advanced and customized control system solutions, as well as engineering services for the metal, electric power, mining and other industries. Its clients are mainly large companies that need complex solutions.
“Yorotek had reached a point when it had started planning an international R&D unit, and Finland’s expertise in industrial automation, the Internet of Things and intelligent solutions is quite well-known in China. Finland has been a leader in innovation and technology for many years,” says Bo Yang from Yorotek Intelligent Manufacturing Finland.
It’s .. really helpful that these organizations [Helsinki Business Hub and Business Finland] have Chinese employees. Their knowledge of both cultures facilitates communication and can help bridge cultural and business differences
Bo Young, Yorotek Intelligent Manufacturing Finland
But Yorotek may not have found its way to Finland without the Chinese community in the Greater Helsinki area. Bo Yang has lived in Finland for 10 years and is well acquainted with the country and its strengths. He happened to know some of the people who work for Yorotek, and he told them that Finland might be just what the company was looking for. In 2018, Yorotek set up its first foreign subsidiary in Finland, with Bo Yang as its head.
“We chose the Helsinki area for our location because of its numerous universities and the availability of top engineers. It’s also a great place to meet partners from other European countries,” Bo Yang says.
Help from Finnish and Chinese organizations
“The support of the local Chinese community is generally very important for Chinese companies expanding to Finland, as they often don’t have contacts here. Information flows between these companies and the Chinese community, who can then introduce companies to relevant contacts. For example, we were introduced to Helsinki Business Hub and Business Finland by Chinese friends. It’s also really helpful that these organizations have Chinese employees. Their knowledge of both cultures facilitates communication and can help bridge cultural and business differences,” says Bo Yang.
Helsinki Business Hub and Business Finland have provided Yorotek with landing services and helped the company promote its business in Finland and connect with potential local partners.
Helsinki Business Hub made our launch much easier. They introduced us to relevant Finnish industrial automation contacts and helped us get started with our business negotiations.
Bo Young, Yorotek Intelligent Manufacturing Finland
“Another important community for Chinese companies already established in Finland is the Chinese Enterprise Association in Finland. Among other things, it organizes events where Chinese companies can meet Finnish companies and local government officials,” Bo Yang says.
Looking for Finnish expertise
Yorotek’s first goal is technology transfer. It is looking for Finnish companies and startups with cutting-edge technology that it can license and integrate into its solutions and utilize in its customer projects in China. Its second objective is to set up joint R&D projects with Finnish companies.
“We want to work with Finnish research partners to solve critical technology problems in industrial automation. Finland has such robust tech expertise, and we are currently negotiating cooperation with Finnish partners. In the future, Yorotek could possibly set up some kind of joint operation with a Finnish company either here in Finland or in China, with the Finnish side focusing on technology and the Chinese side focusing on application, projects and local engineering work,” says Bo Yang.
In the Helsinki region, Yorotek has now settled in Otaniemi, Espoo. It is starting to hire engineers to work in the new unit.
“Our first employees will probably start in the second half of 2019. We will begin with building our R&D team, as we are negotiating R&D projects with Finnish partners. We are planning to hire approximately 15 people in the Helsinki region in the next couple of years.”
Yorotek has not yet set its sights on the European market. According to Bo Yang, the company needs to grow and acquire a better knowledge of the European market and customers first.
“On a global scale, Yorotek’s main market is still China. But perhaps our R&D cooperation with Finnish companies will allow offering Chinese technology and solutions to Finnish companies in the future. China has strong manufacturing and industrial automation know-how and bidirectional technology transfer could benefit both countries,” says Bo Yang.