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Global Business Gate Day #3

Programme for the day.

Summary – Yet another proof of concept

On May 17th 2019 the third Global Business Gate Day was arranged. In the midst of escalating trade difficulties, we had the honour to meet, and listen to, the Acting Consul General of China and the Minster of Foreign Trade of Sweden as well as several other distinguished speakers.

The day proved to be as interesting as promised – a true proof of the essence of Global Business Gate. To bring together people with different perspectives and through meetings and interaction create new knowledge and awareness.

Before the first speaker was introduced the International Youth Think-Tank project was presented by its originator and project manager,  Urban Strandberg. The project is strongly supported by Global Business Gate and more information can be found at iythinktank.com.

Thereafter the first speaker Henrik Einarsson from Business Region Gothenburg, gave us a percipient view of the numbers relating to the trade between China and West Sweden. Frédéric Cho shared insight in the more macro perspective of the same subject.

The four practitioners (from Ludvig Svensson, Mölnlycke Health Care, Polestar and Elof Hansson respectively) proved their deep knowledge of doing business in and with China by giving very penetrating comments and reflections.

Then it was time for the Minister of Foreign Trade, Ann Linde. In a very explicit way she described the relationship, as to trade, with China, focusing not least on the automotive industry in West Sweden. Among other things she made the parable to the shipbuilding industry in Gothenburg – and its demise. Today, through the Chinese presence, the automotive industry, and West Sweden, is in a completely different and in a much better (to not say – excellent) situation.
But, the Minister said, be aware of the very heavy impact that a deteriorating US – China relationship will have. The minister continued by out-lining the Swedish stand as to foreign investments – as a response to new the EU directive.

The Acting Consul General of the China General-Consulate in Gothenburg, Mme. Yang Yin, followed and very warmly embraced the relationship between China and the city of Gothenburg. Going a long time back and extending into the future. Now being symbolized most profoundly by the presence of Geely in the city. She followed by citing Xi Jinping, and his profound belief in free global trade – thereby highlighting the valuable relationship to Sweden – and especially to West Sweden.

These speeches were followed by a discussion between the moderator, Malin Persson, and Carl-Johan Hagman of Stena AB and AB Volvo’s Tina Hallin, both with hands-on experience from the region. The discussion focused on the importance of acknowledging the differences and the capability of humbleness when doing business with, and in, China.

A very interesting and academic report followed – delivered by Lucie Buttkus from the University of Gothenburg. It concentrated of the trust factor in business as well as in negotiations – especially when working in China. A commentary was given by AB Volvo’s Mats Rosenquist and the combination gave a valuable academic approach to the subject.

After further comments and truly personal reflections from the practitioners the Business Sweden, Market Area Director – Greater China, David Hallgren concluded the seminar with a deeply appreciated speech. He pointed to three specific conclusions;
• China is already of significant importance for West Sweden, but we are only at the beginning of the journey as China’s global role is growing
• Overall Swedish companies are performing well in China and are both quite positive about the current business climate and optimistic about the future despite clear challenges
• Looking forward – as Chinese companies ‘go abroad’ and increasingly become technology leaders the key question is how to remain competitive and find new partnerships

A real eye-opener was the graph illustrating the proportion of China sales/global sales of Swedish companies – see below;

After these most intriguing and knowledgeable speeches the moderator Malin Persson thanked all participants and attendees. Having carefully interwoven the reflections of the practitioners in-between the speeches she now returned to the attending master students. Having been introduced at the start, by describing their own expectations, they now stated their eagerness to summarise the Global Business Gate Day #3 seminar in a report.

Malin Persson’s ended the Global Business Gate Day by once again thanking the CEO Lennart Hedström for the ambition and eagerness to continuously drive the concept of Global Business Gate.

To harbor a business cluster that oxygenates the international trade in the
Gothenburg region. Thereby allowing the city to continue to flourish as a commercial center – and thus contributing to a more competitive West Sweden.

 

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