Richard Järvinen places his mobile phone, a Nokia N900, on the table next to him. Two minutes later, a little tone indicates he has gotten a message. Soon after, he gets another. And then another.
He looks at it briefly and scrolls over the touch screen.
When Richard Järvinen joined Nokia China as a senior manager in 2004, it was for a specific reason: The famous non-breakability of Nokia products suddenly mattered less than the software within the phone. To stay on the market, it had become more and more important to sport unique features, useful applications and compatibility with other technological products, mainly computers.
At his own request, Richard Järvinen, was transferred from the head quarters in Finland to the 1200-man strong daughter company in Beijing, to focus on the development of phone software. As a Master of Science, this is his field.
“I am good with software, not so good with hardware. I like things to work and if they do not, I want to know why,” he says. His brown hair is speckled with a little gray, his suit tailor made and his brown eyes never flicker. But his manner is quiet, polite. He speaks in a soft voice, which he never seems to raise.
Business life is interesting
Soon after his arrival in Beijing, he started to work with the Finnish business community, involving himself in different boards and projects, amongst them the Finnish Business Council. To him, dialogue is essential and he found himself unable to not engage in discussions about market trends, Finland’s role in China and Chinese company culture.
“I enjoy the meetings in the Council and I enjoy the fruitful discussions. It is a fascinating world”, he says.
His drive and interest in the Finnish society in China made him the natural selection for the job as Chairman of the Finnish Chamber of Commerce, despite his relatively short career here. He is acting Chairman today and looks forward to the job officially, if he is elected, he says.
And already from the start, he has a clear idea for the future decision making process of the Chamber – this is going to work on Scandinavian, democratic values.
“I am a team worker kind of person. It gives me motivation to reach decisions together and I get my energy from the teams, I am part of. I think, that is the best approach for the Chamber, to discuss things”, he says.
Family adapting to Finland
Today, he found a balance in between the Scandinavian and Chinese that fits him.
“I had been in China one or two times, before I started realizing which opportunities, the country has to offer”, Richard Järvinen says.
Not only in relation to his job, but also to him as a father and husband. His two sons, 12-year-old Vihtori and Nestori, who is 10, have now spend more than half of their lives in China and go to a British school. Every summer, they spend their holiday in Finland.
“Our family has gotten used to Asia, and we frequently have Finnish friends coming to China to visit. The school is good and both my wife and I have found work, we are very involved in”, he says and elaborates.
“It’s a very dynamic place, where things happen very fast. I like that very much”, he says.
He stops to think a little bit. Then, very slowly, as if weighing his words carefully to not offend anyone, he says:
“Also, I think living in a country as big as China expands your thinking. When you live in a smaller country… I believe, it gives a broader view to live here. You cannot plan what is going to happen. The more you plan, the less it is going to be like that. I think, you need to adapt to that to be successful in China”, he says.
Behind him, the Nokia logo can be seen from the massive glass windows in the meeting room, he is in. In front of him, his phone beeps once again.
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Facts about Richard Järvinen:
Took a bachelor of logistics from Jyväskylä Institute of Technology in 1995
Master of Science, Tampere University of Technology in Finland in 1997
He is Senior program manager at Nokia China, chairman of the acting board of Finnish Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman of the board of the Finnish Business Council
He has been in China for six years
2004-2009 Head of Nokia Software Platforms China Site
He changes his phone three times a year – currently he has a Nokia N900