Helsinki Business Hub is involved in a number of initiatives helping Finnish companies build business relations in China. One of these initiatives is the China Business Lab Program, run by Shanghai University and Chinese business incubator Innospring and supported by Finnish CJ Studio. Helsinki Business Hub and Innospring have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the promotion of business and investments between the Shanghai and Helsinki regions.
China and Finland have a strong commercial relationship, and many Finnish companies are eager to access the Chinese market or do business with Chinese partners. Helsinki Business Hub is working to facilitate these business relations.
“We want to foster budding business connections and help Finnish companies expand to China. It’s a great opportunity to grow their business globally as well as here in Finland. We want to make sure that they have all the help they need,” says senior business advisor Xin Wang from Helsinki Business Hub.
That is why Helsinki Business Hub initiated the China Business Lab Program with Shanghai University and Innospring business incubator. As project coordinator, Helsinki Business Hub helped recruit the participating Finnish companies and invited the Finnish consulting company CJ Studio to work as a business partner in the initiative.
The program offered Shanghai University business students a new type of course and a chance to get involved in real international business. The students provided free consulting services to Finnish companies in order to help them connect with Chinese business partners and eventually expand to the Chinese market.
Creating new business relationships
The China Business Lab Program was launched in 2018 and set to last for one academic year. It was free of charge for the participating seven companies, which ranged from startups to larger companies and from technology businesses to service providers. The student groups from Shanghai University helped the companies come up with a China business strategy and get to know the Chinese market.
“CJ Studio was invited to help with the initial practical arrangements, like organizing a kick-off and facilitating some of the discussions between the Finnish companies and the Chinese students, who visited Finland in February 2019,” says partner Juho Pirinen from CJ Studio.
The program has been the first of its kind. It has offered Chinese students a hands-on, practical opportunity to work with international companies and hopefully sparked an interest in them to work with issues related to Finland and the Nordic area in the future. The companies got a thorough introduction to Chinese business culture and learned communication with Chinese companies.
“As a consulting company working to create new business relations between China and Finland and the rest of the Nordic area, we feel that this type of collaboration and increased understanding of different business cultures will sprout new business and benefit both countries. China holds so much potential in so many fields, but the business culture is very different and competition with Chinese and international companies can be tough. That’s why these types of initiatives are very important,” says Pirinen.
His consultancy works with Finnish and Nordic companies looking to expand to China. It also works with Chinese companies interested in entering the Western markets or collaborating with Finnish companies and the Nordic innovation ecosystem.
Bridging Chinese and Finnish business, innovations and investments
The China Business Lab Program is just one of Helsinki Business Hub’s initiatives geared at strengthening the business relationships between China and Finland. Helsinki Business Hub has run several other initiatives with the Chinese incubator Innospring to help companies from the Helsinki region connect with Innospring’s network in the Shanghai region and to encourage Chinese high-tech companies enter the Finnish market. The latest step in the collaboration between Helsinki Business Hub and Innospring is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
“Innospring is the leading accelerator in Shanghai, and we were first introduced to them already in 2016. Our collaboration has been very fruitful. The Memorandum of Understanding is an official statement of our continuing strong intent to join our efforts in promoting business, innovations and investments between the Helsinki and Shanghai regions,” says Xin Wang from Helsinki Business Hub.