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Korea - The Strategic Hub for Asia

Written by Cecilia Helland on Friday, 24 October 2014. Posted in Main 1, China, Articles of China, Main 1

Korea is often overlooked by Swedish and European companies. When we think of Asia we generally think of China, Japan and India.

But Korea plays a key role on the Asian market. With its strategic geographical location between Japan and China, a vibrant business environment, and fewer problems with piracy, Korea is a well-suited hub for any Asian business activity.

During the seminar, we will address the topic of making business in Korea from three different angles. Korea Trade & Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) will tell you about the business advantage of Korea - the location, the culture and the business climate.

Envac, a leading cleantech company in the waste management business, will tell you about their hands-on experience as a Swedish company operating in Korea. Groth & Co, will tell you about the intellectual property system of Korea and give you tips on how to think when entering Korea.

The aim of the seminar is to inform and inspire, and to give you strategic advice for the often overlooked Korean market.


Eunsung Kim, Director General of KOTRA

Christer Öjdemark, CEO of ENVAC

Youngmi Chung, Groth & Co

Thomas Lev, Groth & Co

The seminar will be held in English. Breakfast will be served from 8.30.


Groth & Co

Date: Friday 14 November 2014



Time: 9 to 10.30 am (breakfast will be served from 8.30)



Location: Spårvagnshallarna, Birger Jarlsgatan 57 A, Stockholm. Room: "Perrongen" Sweden



Cost: Free of Charge.



RSVP: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Carbon map – Which countries are responsible for climate change?

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 23 September 2014. Posted in Right left 1, China, Articles of China, Main 2

As heads of state from David Cameron to Barack Obama meet in New York for a UN climate summit hosted by Ban Ki-moon, expectations are high for bold commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Use this interactive, in-depth map to find out who the big polluters are internationally, how China’s emissions have grown stratospherically and see who is most vulnerable to global warming’s impacts.

Turn your sound up to hear the introduction to the map

Mobilising China’s future leaders against corruption

Written by Cecilia Helland on Thursday, 22 May 2014. Posted in Right left 2, China, Articles of China, Main 2

A new student-led movement in China is helping inspire the next generation to become leaders of integrity.

Read more at – Transparency International

Billions from Beijing: Africans Divided over Chinese Presence

Written by Cecilia Helland on Monday, 02 December 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Right 1, Left 2 - 3st

Chinese companies have pumped billions into Africa to secure access to natural resources, boosting countries' economies along the way.

Ordinary citizens aren't reaping the benefits, though, and have become increasingly wary of the new investors.

In a three-part series, SPIEGEL is exploring fundamental changes occurring in Africa -- a continent the West has long written off, but is now being embraced by other countries.

This is Part I of the series

Doing Business 2013

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 27 November 2013. Posted in Right bottom intervju, China, Articles of China, Main 7

Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 185 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders.

This year’s report data cover regulations measured from June 2011 through May 2012. The report marks the 10th edition of the Doing Business series. Over the past decade, these reports have recorded nearly 2,000 regulatory reforms implemented by 180 economies.

Key findings:

Poland was the global top improver in the past year. It enhanced the ease of doing business through four institutional or regulatory reforms, making it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts, and resolve insolvency.

Besides Poland, nine other economies are recognized as having the most improved ease of doing business across several areas of regulation as measured by the report: Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Costa Rica, Mongolia, Greece, Serbia, and Kazakhstan.

Worldwide, 108 economies implemented 201 regulatory reforms in 2011/12 making it easier to do business as measured by Doing Business. Reform efforts globally have focused on making it easier to start a new business, increasing the efficiency of tax administration and facilitating trade across international borders. Of the 201 regulatory reforms recorded in the past year, 44% focused on these 3 policy areas alone. Read about reforms.

Singapore topped the global ranking on the ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; and Denmark. Georgia was a new entrant to the top 10. View the rankings.

This year's report offers four new datasets: Distance to frontier, good practices, entrepreneurship, and transparency in business regulations.

New database on Chinese legislation

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 18 June 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 1, Main 6 - 3st

The EU SME Centre has published a new online tool for small and medium enterprises doing business in China.

The law database provides an introduction to elementary Chinese legislation on foreign investment and foreign trade with approximately 40 relevant laws and regulations.

The Chinese Law Database


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Continues to Expand Its Lead in China

Written by Tony Harkén on Wednesday, 12 June 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 4, Right bottom - 8st

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, said today the company will open 20 new hotels in China in 2013.

Having doubled its footprint here in the last three years, Starwood has 120 hotels open and more than 100 in the pipeline, making China the company’s second largest hotel market behind only the United States, and its fastest growing. Starwood President and CEO Frits van Paasschen who is in China this week participating in the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu said the company will open one new hotel every 20 days here and that 70 percent of its pipeline of new hotels under construction and in development are in second and third tier cities.

“We continue to view China as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our business,” said van Paasschen. “Whether it’s growing our hotel footprint as part of the country’s massive infrastructure development, or aggressively building our loyalty program in the world’s fastest growing domestic and outbound travel market, we are focused on taking every advantage of our important first-mover position in China.”

Early Foothold in China Continues to Pay Off; Starwood Poised to Double Luxury Portfolio

Starwood’s presence in China dates back to 1985 when the Sheraton Great Wall Beijing debuted as the first international hotel in the People’s Republic of China. Today Starwood is the largest high-end hotel operator in China with more hotels here than competitors Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt combined. In 2012 Starwood opened 25 hotels and signed 36 new hotel deals – a record number of openings and deals.

With over 170 cities with population over 1 million, the runway to grow in China continues to be long. Adding to Starwood’s long established presence in China’s major cities, the company is focused on expansion in second and third tier cities. Starwood’s upper upscale Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien brands continue to be sought after for new central business districts and government administrative centers in second tier cities. Starwood’s Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft brands fit well in newly developed high-tech, industry and university parks as well as near high speed railway stations and cities in early stages of urbanization, in addition to ongoing expansion in established markets.

Demand for luxury hotels throughout China continues to grow and over the next few years Starwood will double its luxury footprint here. W Hotels, which just opened the W Guangzhou earlier this year, will open new flagships in Beijing and Shanghai as well as hotels in, Suzhou, Changsha and Chengdu. St. Regis, Starwood’s ultra-luxury brand, will build on its well established presence in China in markets including Beijing, Shenzhen and Sanya with new hotels in Changsha, Chengdu, Lijiang, Qingshui Bay, Zhuhai and Nanjing while Starwood’s Luxury Collection will expand in Dalian, Hangzhou, Nanning, Xiamen, Nanjing and Suzhou.

China is Starwood’s Second Largest and Fastest Growing Traveler Market

According to the UN World Travel Organization (UNWTO), China is now the world’s number one tourism source market in terms of spending, surpassing Germany and the United States. In 2012, China’s expenditure on travel abroad reached US$102 billion. China is now Starwood’s second largest source of travelers behind only North America and in 2012 outbound Chinese travel to its hotels grew by 20%. Already the largest feeder market to Starwood hotels in Asia, China is by far the company’s fastest growing travel market. According to van Paasschen, accelerated Chinese outbound travel is impacting business around the globe, and last year 95% of Starwood’s hotels across nearly 100 countries welcomed guests from Greater China.

Just as important as opening new hotels, Starwood is focused on cultivating loyalty among China’s new mega travelers. Since 2010, the company has doubled its base of active travelers in Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), the company’s loyalty program. Growth in SPG’s base of travelers continues to grow at a rapid pace, and today, SPG enrolls a new member every 20 seconds in China, and elite gold and platinum members who stay 25+ nights a year are up 53% over last year. Globally, 50% of Starwood’s guests are SPG members, and in China, 55% of rooms are filled through SPG.

Starwood Opening New Resorts in China to Cater to Affluent Local Market

Chinese domestic travel also continues to rise. Starwood’s hotels in China are no longer just outposts for Western travelers, and today 50% of guests at hotels here are Chinese. More and more, Starwood and its owner partners are developing hotels in China with the domestic traveler in mind, including new resort product to meet the demands of an increasingly affluent local market with the means and desire to travel. Starwood will soon have more resorts in Hainan Islands (often referred to as China’s Hawaii,) than it does in Hawaii. Likewise the company has opened new ski resorts in China such as the Westin and Sheraton resorts in Changbaishan and also urban retreats including the Sheraton Huzhou and the nearly 4,000-room Sheraton Macao, Starwood’s largest hotel anywhere in the world.

New Hotels Driving Demand for Talent -- Starwood To Fill 10,000 New Positions a Year in China

Over the next five years Starwood will more than double its number of associates in China with 10,000 new hires each year. Starwood’s long presence in China and proven career track coupled with sophisticated recruiting efforts are helping the company attract top talent. Because of its long tenure and well established teams in China, Starwood boasts a deep bench here, and Starwood’s two most senior leaders in Asia Pacific, Stephen Ho, President of Asia Pacific and Qian Jin, President of China, both joined the company in the 1980s and rose through the ranks to their current positions. Within Starwood’s hotels in China, one third of its General Managers and 79% of its hotel senior Executive Committee leaders are Chinese.

Gnotec has obtained a major order and starts operation in China

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 04 June 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 1, Main 5 - 3st

Gnotec has signed an agreement with Volvo Car Corporation regarding deliveries of pressed metal components to Volvo Cars’ new plant in Chengdu, China.

Based on this order, Gnotec has decided to start a new manufacturing plant in the city of Kunshan in eastern China. Preparations for the production are taking place and production is planned to start during autumn 2013.

The establishment in China is part of the offensive international drive of the group. A sales and purchasing office was set up in Shanghai during spring 2012, aiming at supporting Gnotec’s customers on the rapidly growing local market.

Stefan Ottosson, President and CEO of Gnotec, comments on the establishment: “The order from Volvo Cars is an important corner stone in the startup of our Chinese operation and makes it possible for Gnotec to take the next step in our internationalisation plan.”

European Pavilion at Clean Energy Expo China 2013

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 20 May 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 2, Right bottom - 8st

The EU SME Centre will be presenting a European Pavilion at the Clean Energy Expo China (CEEC) in Beijing on 3-5 July.

The European Pavilion provides a portal for European companies to the world’s largest energy market. European business will have the opportunity to increase their visibility, network with counterparts and benefit from additional useful services.

The European Pavilion also offers special budget packages to enterprises with limited financial resources. CEEC is the only cross-sector Trade Fair and Conference in China showcasing the entire clean energy portfolio. More than 20,000 trade visitors and 800 delegates are expected to attend.

Information and registration form


Welcome to this month’s number of Chinaresearch!

Written by Tony Harkén on Friday, 05 April 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 4, Main 5 - 3st

Kip Beckman is looking closer into a book that everyone with interest in China and the global economy should read.

We are talking about Daron Acemoglu’s and Jim Robinson’s very readable oeuvre “Why Nations Fail”.

Furthermore, Hubert Fromlet launches some serious concerns about the intended joining of the euro/EMU by Latvia already next year. Changing exchange rate regimes belongs to the most important decisions of economic policy. Some re-thinking seems to be necessary, also by the deciding politicians. Will they ever learn?

Read on! Enjoy at Chinaresarch!

A changing of the guard as China's science rises

Written by Tony Harkén on Friday, 29 March 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 1, Main 7 - 3st

Japan continues to lead the Asia-Pacific in research output. But it could be overtaken by China in the coming years.

The top institution in the region in 2012 was The University of Tokyo, but it will almost certainly lose its crown to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2013. Indeed on a rolling 12-month window to mid-March, the CAS has a substantial lead.

These are the lead conclusions of the 2012 Nature Publishing Index (NPI) 2012 Asia-Pacific, published today in Nature.

The NPI 2012 Asia-Pacific supplement also reports:

• The region's scientists are publishing more high quality basic science than ever before: more than 28% of articles published in the high quality Nature research journals have an author from the Asia-Pacific region, compared with 19% in 2008.

• Japan's publication output increased despite the diversion of resources into rebuilding infrastructure after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

• China is still in second place, but it is growing faster than Japan and may take first place within a couple of years. Most Chinese institutions in the Asia-Pacific top 200 improved their ranking in the past year.

• Australia is in third place, and leads the region in earth and environmental science publications. Its top institution, the University of Melbourne, rose to sixth in the Asia-Pacific region. James Cook University in Townsville continues to be the fast improver, up at 30th in 2012 from 351st in the region in 2008.

• South Korea sits firmly in fourth place with almost double the output of fifth-ranked Singapore. Its publication output dropped slightly in 2012, but new president, Park Geun-hye, plans to increase investment in R&D as a proportion of GDP to 5% by 2017.

• Singapore had the greatest proportional increase of any of the top eight countries over the year. The National University of Singapore is the highest ranking institution in Singapore.

• This year, Taiwan consolidated the sixth spot, ahead of India and New Zealand both of whose output dropped slightly.

The NPI Asia-Pacific 2012 has been released as a supplement to Nature today. It measures the output of research articles from nations and institutes published in the 18 Nature-branded primary research journals over the calendar year. The supplement provides a snapshot of research in the Asia-Pacific in 2012.

To see the latest results for the region, and the Nature Publishing Index Global Top 100, visit the Index website

The data posted on the website is updated every week with a moving window of 12 months of data.

LEGO Group to build factory in China

Written by Tony Harkén on Monday, 18 March 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 2, Main 7 - 3st

By 2017 a new LEGO factory in Jiaxing, China is expected to be fully operational and have approximately 2000 employees.

The LEGO Group has announced plans to build and operate its own LEGO factory in China. The factory will supply products for the growing Asian market. Construction is expected to begin in 2014.

“It is our strategy to have production close to our core markets in order to secure short lead-time and world class service to our customers and consumers, and it has proven a successful strategy. Asia – including China – is a future core market for the LEGO Group and therefore I am excited to share our plans for the new factory. Having full control of the production process is essential to deliver products of a consistent high quality and safety and in harmony with our values” says Bali Padda, COO and adds:

“In addition by placing a manufacturing site in the region we reduce our environmental impact as we will reduce the need for transporting products from Europe to be sold in Asia.”

State-of the art factory

The factory will be built in the city Jiaxing, right in the middle of the Yangtze River Delta and located approximately 100 km from Shanghai where the LEGO Group is planning to locate a regional distribution centre for Asia.

“The new factory will be built and run with the same technology, automation and standards for employee safety and product quality as our LEGO factories in Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic and Mexico, and it will have a distinct LEGO look and feel.” says Michael McNulty, Senior Vice President, Procurement.

Producing for Asia only

The LEGO Group currently does not operate its own manufacturing facility in China, but with the new production site including moulding, decoration and packaging facilities it will have a supply base for future growth in Asia. LEGO Group sales in the region have grown by more than 50 percent annually in recent years.

 “Based on our current expectations for growth in Asia, the factory should be able to supply approximately 70-80 percent of all the LEGO products sold in the region in 2017. All products made in the new factory will be sold in Asia,” says Michael McNulty.

Location with focus on employees

The location of the new factory, Jiaxing, has a population of 5 million and it has been chosen for several reasons, says Michael McNulty:

“It is close to our regional distribution centre and the city has all the facilities and infrastructure needed. But in addition, we believe the location is perfect in regards to securing the best environment for future LEGO employees. The city is the strongest possible match with core LEGO values, and the plans for a sustainable city development is well organized”

Jiaxing has been named “National Health City”, “National Model City for Greening”, “National Garden City”.


·  By 2017 the factory is planned to have an area of approximately 120.000 square meters

·  In 2015 the factory is planned to have approximately 200 - 400 employees

·  By 2017 the factory will be fully operational and is planned to have approximately 2000 employees

·  These numbers depend on the growth and demand for LEGO products in Asia and can be adjusted.

·  The investment will amount to approximately a 3 digit million Euro figure

Time plan:

·  Construction of the factory is planned to begin in early 2014

·  By 2017 the factory is planned to be fully operational


·  Jiaxing has a population of 5 million and a catchment area of approximately 15 million.

·  There are two universities and numerous technical colleges located in the city.

·  Jiaxing is ranked 25th in the city ranking of “100 best cities for foreign investment” and has earned the titles of ‘National Civilized City’, ‘Chinas outstanding Tourist City’, ‘National Health City’, ‘National model city for greening’, ‘National garden city’ and national innovation pilot city.

·  Jiaxing is right in the middle of the Yangtze River Delta There are numerous multinational companies located within  Jiaxing Economic and Technological Development Zone

·  Jiaxing is located approximately 100 km (1.5 hours) from Shanghai

China Research

Written by Tony Harkén on Tuesday, 12 March 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 2, Right bottom - 8st

In this number of LNU’s China blog, we welcome two writers who now contribute for the first time to this publication.

Doris Fischer looks at the possibility of major policy changes by the new government, based on micro observations of China’s solar energy policy.

Michael Grömling gives us some deepening information and own calculations what regards Asia and China as global investment drivers.

Hubert Fromlet gets back to the issue of transparency and Chinese statistics in qualitative terms.

Read on! Enjoy! – China Research

Rebound for North European companies in China

Written by Cecilia Helland on Wednesday, 06 March 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 1, Main 5 - 3st

China's economy bottomed out during the second half of 2012, and an increasing number of indicators now point to improved business conditions.

Government-led stimulus packages, relatively loose monetary conditions and positive export figures have contributed to an improved business climate. Half of top managers at North European companies in China now have a positive view on the market and profit expectations in the region. After three consecutive surveys with falling sentiment, SEB's China Financial Index in March increases to 60.8  from 56.1 in September.

The percentage of surveyed companies that see lower customer demand as a main concern has fallen from 70 per cent to just above 40 per cent. Companies have increased expansion plans slightly in China, and two out of three respondents plan further investments. 15 per cent of companies plan significant investments, which is the same number as in September. A bit more than half of the companies plan further recruitment, which is higher than the last survey.

"Optimism among companies has increased since the last survey, and it is evident that order books are looking better than in September. Investment plans are also increasing albeit only marginally, as some manufacturing companies still have overcapacity in China and are awaiting more signs of a robust rebound in the economy. Furthermore, companies did not slow investment plans much last year, despite negative economic signals," says Fredrik Hähnel, Head of SEB in Shanghai and author of the report.

The Chinese economy grew by 7.9 per cent during the fourth quarter 2012 compared to 7.4 per cent for the third quarter. Several indicators in China now point in the direction of a modestly rebounding economy, and full-year growth for 2013 looks to be better than in 2012. During 2013, SEB economists expect China to grow by 8.1 per cent.

Increasingly positive signals in China make North European companies more optimistic about the future in the region. Around half of respondents now have a positive view of the coming six months, whereas the number of companies with a negative view has fallen from one-third to only ten per cent. The remaining forty per cent have a neutral view. Slightly less than half of the companies expect profits to increase, which is an increase from the last survey. Very few companies believe that profits will fall in the coming six months.

"Regardless of whether you believe the current Chinese growth model is sustainable or not, it is obvious that governernment stimulus for infrastructure and other projects at the end of last year is having a positive effect on business conditions for industrial companies. Meanwhile, private consumption should increase in China for many years to come, which is why companies selling directly to Chinese consumers are generally more positive than industrial companies," says Hähnel.

44 per cent of respondents see lower customer demand as a main concern, which is down from 70 per cent in the last survey. 16 per cent view competition as their largest concern. Other important issues are a complex regulatory system and lack of qualified staff.

"That fewer companies worry about a fall in customer demand further strengthens the picture that the order book is improving. It is also obvious from the survey that there is a shift towards more concern over increasing competition, as foreign investors see an increasing number of Chinese competitors moving up the value chain and taking market share," says Hähnel.

Half of respondents believe that the renminbi will strenthen against the US dollar. Seven out of ten companies anticipate higher interest rates. One-third of the companies also expect salaries to increase by 7-8 per cent in 2013 while four out of ten companies calculate with a salary increase of 9-10 per cent or more - a rate well above the 2 per cent annual inflation level in China in January.

"The competition for competence is fierce, and employees are still faster-moving when it comes to recruitment compared to most developed markets," says Hähnel.

This is the ninth edition of SEB's China Financial Index, a unique semi-annual survey. The purpose is to mirror changes in expectations among North European companies in China in order to facilitate understanding of economic and financial development in the country. The survey was carried out from 18-22 February, and includes a total of 12 questions related to the business climate, investment plans, recruitment plans and the view of currencies and interest rates. An index level over 50 signals overall positive sentiment.

Pepperstone continues Asian expansion with Shanghai

Written by Cecilia Helland on Sunday, 17 February 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 1, Right 1, Right bottom - 8st

Business expansion will provide sales, technical support and training centre for the Chinese market.

Pepperstone, one of the fastest growing online foreign exchange (“FOREX”, “FX”) brokers worldwide, announced that it has expanded further into Asia with the opening of a representative office in Shanghai, China.

The new branch cements Pepperstone’s growing footprint across China – the world’s second largest economy. Pepperstone has an established geo-expansion program in China in place to expand its operations in emerging high growth regions. The company is currently identifying new untapped markets in second and third tier cities in the country, distinguishing itself as a first-mover and securing competitive advantage over other international players.

“The office will support existing Mandarin and Cantonese speaking clients whilst also further expanding our client base in China.” said Daniel Poon, Managing Director of the China Office, “With already an immense number of Chinese clients trading with Pepperstone the demand for dedicated support for this client segment was well overdue.“

“As Australia’s largest margin FX broker expanding further into Asia seemed a natural progression” Pepperstone’s CEO Owen Kerr said, “We look forward to many years of service and success with our valued clients and partners in the People’s Republic of China.”

Geely cars to hit European roads

Written by Cecilia Helland on Sunday, 17 February 2013. Posted in China, Articles of China, Main 1, Main 7 - 3st

Starting this month, Geely cars manufactured in Belarus will hit the roads of Europe, as the Chinese car manufacturer will start selling the Geely SC7 sedan for USD12,990.

The cars on sale are assembled in factories in Zhodino and Borisov, which is run by the Belarusian-Chinese JV company BelDzhi. Geely also plans to launch the car in Russia this spring.  

The project's first stage is scheduled to produce 60,000 cars a year for its first three years, with capacity doubling in 2017 after the second stage is completed.

  • New number of Chinaresearch

    In this number of Chinaresearch.se we try again to apply both macroeconomic and microeconomic angles on the Chinese economy - a mix of analysis we strongly believe in. Read more

  • Dear reader

    We publish two articles with a direct connection with China and two pieces with more general or indirect links to China. Read more

  • Swegon China Opens

    The European market leader in ventilation and indoor climate has received its business license for the latest affiliates: Swegon Indoor Climate Systems (Shanghai) Co.., LTD. in China. Read more

  • BMW in China

    The year 2012 has been a good year for BMW in China, which reported a sales increase of 31 percent in April compared with 2011. Read more

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