Join FinnCham Beijing
Join FinnCham Beijing
Our Business Community in Beijing
Greetings from Chairman Juha Tuominen
Here in China 2023 turned out to be perhaps the most twofold year ever. Coming out from 3 years long fight against COVID, in the beginning of the year we were free of all restrictions. The first half of the year was filled with excitement and tons of activities – China market was back! But economic recovery from the pandemic has not been as fast as expected. Towards the end of the year consumer spending is still lacking and even private sector confidence has been weak. During the last quarter of 2023 we saw increasing vows by the government to regain companies’ confidence in the Chinese market. And 2024 starts with an atmosphere of anticipation – when will China’s economy fully recovers from the pandemic.
In 2023 the World continued to be disrupted by wars and conflicts. While the war in Ukraine continues, new conflicts arose in Middle East. Thus, looking at the global economy for 2024, Executives continue to see geopolitical instability and conflicts as the biggest threat for the global economic outlook (more on global economic outlook McKinley Global Economic Conditions Outlook during turbulent times, December 2023). The conflicts have brought on economic challenges and inflation in Europe. As EU has become China’s biggest trading partner, struggles on the Old Continent have had a clear impact on China’s economy as well. The World Bank estimated China’s economic growth in December for 2023 to be 5.2%. But with abundant global and domestic challenges ahead, the forecast for 2024 is 4.5% with the downward trend to continue coming years. (World Bank’s China Economic Update – December 2023)
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the first Finland-China trade agreement. Still after 70 years China remains an important market for Finnish companies. After the COVID restrictions were lifted beginning of 2023, we saw several new Finnish companies starting their China journey. The three pandemic years were naturally challenging for many Finnish companies as well. But we have had many success stories, several of which you can read about from our newsletters during 2023. Looking at 2024, despite the economic challenges, overall Finnish companies remain positive towards their business development in China, albeit large corporations are more pessimistic than SMEs. (Team Finland China Pulse Survey October 2023)
The year 2023 was in many ways a relief for us in FinnCham Beijing. We were finally able to return to regular events also offline and ended having perhaps our busiest year ever! I want to thank my colleagues at FinnCham Beijing for the past year and especially our Executive Director Ulla Nurmenniemi for keeping us going strong.
A big thank you for our partners as well. As part of Team Finland, we have continued great cooperation with the Embassy and Business Finland, and I look forward to keep that going in 2024 as well. In 2023 together with FinnChams in Shanghai and Guangdong we started a journey towards a unified FinnCham in China, and we are extremely excited to continue this development in 2024.
Last and foremost, on behalf of all of us at FinnCham Beijing, I want to thank all our members for 2023 and look forward to seeing you all in 2024!
Wishing you Happy New Year 2024 and all the success for the Year of the Dragon!
On behalf of FinnCham Beijing,
Greetings from Ambassador Leena-Kaisa Mikkola
It is again my privilege to greet the members of the FinnCham in Beijing, as we welcome the dawn of a new year.
For us at the embassy, FinnCham forms a critical interface to the everyday reality of Finnish businesses in China. A good cooperation between public authorities and companies is a necessity, especially in today’s world, which is characterized by an ever-deepening connection between politics and the economy.
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the first trade agreement between China and Finland. Signed in June of 1953, the bilateral agreement was originally worth of 2.5 billion Finnish markkas, which translates to roughly 90 million euros today. 70 years later, our bilateral trade relations are measured in billions of euros – every quarter.
The increased trade perfectly portrays the great story of the past decades: globalization, foreign trade and consequent economic welfare in our respective countries. Currently, we live in in a world of geopolitical shifts and challenges. The word ‘globalization’ does not have the same indisputable appeal anymore.
With a new year, we find ourselves in a moment of reflection. The ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza remind us of the fragility of peace and the importance of diplomatic efforts.
As the late President of Finland and Nobel laureate, Martti Ahtisaari, said, “Wars and conflicts are not inevitable. They are caused by human beings. There are always interests that are furthered by war. Therefore those who have power and influence can also stop them.”
Conflicts can ultimately be resolved. Despite all our contemporary challenges, as we embark on this new year, let us remain optimistic and keep in mind the prospect of just peace. After all, it is peace that provides the foundation for economic action.
The challenges of our times require collective efforts to forge a brighter future. Peace should be a common aspiration for all of us.
I hope that 2023 has treated you well, and as we step into 2024, may it bring you even more success, happiness, prosperity, and most importantly peace.
Cheers to a new year!
Ambassador of Finland to China