Team Finland raises level of co-operation with mainland firms
China's increasing international role has made it a vital strategy for many nations to strengthen ties with the emerging global power - but only few have visions as clear as Finland's China Action Plan.
As the road map towards deepening relations with China, the plan outlines specific objectives ranging from political, commercial and economic to environmental, educational and cultural co-operation. The Finnish government took the initiative a step further with the creation of Team Finland last year, intensifying the promotion of the country and its interests abroad.
"Finland is where innovation and design permeate all products - from kitchen utensils to furniture and from cruise ships to computer games," says Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade. "Combining this with problem-solving capabilities, Finnish companies are globally adaptable and ready to push new boundaries."
Among the major forces behind Team Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has received highly positive reactions from China - Finland's biggest trading partner in Asia and fourth-biggest trading partner in the world.
With investments exceeding HK$100 billion, more than 300 Finnish companies have established themselves in China. While most have invested in Beijing, Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta, many are increasingly exploring opportunities in central and western China.
The ministry believes this will further open up mutually beneficial activities, particularly in clean technology, design, information technology, machinery and forest industries. Beyond commerce, it looks forward to increasing Sino-Finnish collaboration in education and relevant social issues such as ageing populations and good governance.
"We are going to see increased internationalisation of Chinese companies. Finland will hopefully play a role in this process - being a stable and accessible gateway to the European Union and an innovative, technology-oriented economy in its own right," Stubb says. "I also hope that Chinese companies increasingly recognise that Finnish companies make excellent partners in third markets, in Europe and around the globe."