At the moment there are some Chinese companies doing business in Finland, but their number is on the rise. This is no surprise as Helsinki offers a high level of expertise and innovation as well as a stable business environment that both attract the companies of the world’s biggest nation. In China about 300 Finnish companies employ locally around 60.000 persons. This means growing cooperation between Finland and China – a trend caught by Pohjola Bank plc and one of the biggest Chinese bank, Bank of China, who boost their four-year partnership with a new China Desk concept.
For these two business partners, who are already familiar to each other, the new approach means mainly deepening the two-way partnership. Nonetheless, for Bank of China this kind of China Desk agreement that strengthens mutual cooperation is the first of its kind made with a European bank.
So far the cooperation between Pohjola Bank and Bank of China has focused strongly on China. However, the new China Desk concept implies that a big international Chinese bank believes strongly in the Finnish market. No surprise as Helsinki’s strategic location attracts the Asians, and highly expertised and well-educated Finns have a good employee reputation abroad.
Closer co-operation in Helsinki and Shanghai
With this brand new cooperation concept, Pohjola Bank’s expert in Shanghai can coordinate even more flexibly the banking services targeted at Finnish companies already doing or starting up business in China. In Helsinki, in turn, Chinese experts take care of the China Desk which offers banking services to support Chinese investments in Finland.
– Our cooperation pattern started already in 2008 for customer referrals and foreign trade services. In practice this brought banking services easier locally available for those Finnish companies doing business on the Chinese market, as their service needs were directly channelled to Bank of China, tells Tarja Pitkänen, Senior Vice President in charge of Pohjola Bank plc’s international services.
– Our banking services in both countries are already excellent. Instead, we have noted cultural differences much better after cooperating together for several years. The purpose of China Desk is to function as a coordinating intermediary dispelling those cultural differences which tend to slow down business between the Chinese and the Finnish, Pitkänen continues.
The cooperation has so far been stronger from Pohjola Bank to China. According to Pitkänen, now the Chinese show strong interest in China Desk of Helsinki:
– In China they consider this cooperation pattern important and have spread the word a lot. It is great that a big Chinese bank clearly believes in our market as well as in Chinese companies coming and succeeding here. That is important to us, too, since Bank of China has more than 300.000 employees and 11.000 branch offices all around the country. I am really looking forward to Bank of China bringing us new Chinese companies for customers.
Chinese-Finnish bridge construction for smoother business
The Chinese companies that come to Helsinki are also publicly supported. Since spring 2010, Chinese-Finnish innovation centre China-Finland Golden Bridge has helped Chinese technology companies to adapt in Finland – and in this way to the European markets.
– For the cooperation and investment process of two different cultures, the help from Golden Bridge has been priceless. I give full marks to their expertise and activity; thanks to them our cooperation in China has really got off the ground, praises Pitkänen and concludes:
– Right now we strongly invest in serving our customers in China and our Chinese customers in Finland. We want our desk concept to work very well. Then we can decide what to do next.