In the first newsletter from the all China DCCC board & Chairman and the first newsletter in the Year of the Tiger, DCCC’s All China Chairman Simon Lichtenberg summarized some of the Chamber’s key events of 2021 while also touching upon what DCCC and its members can look forward to in 2022.
Simon Lichtenberg writes:
In 2021 China celebrated the 100th Birthday of the Communist Party of China. 2021 also marked the beginning of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and maybe most notably the launch of China’s dual circulation strategy, which seeks to spur China’s domestic demand while simultaneously developing conditions to facilitate foreign investment and boost production for export – a shift towards becoming a demand and innovation-driven economy. Although it seems like it, this is not an inwards-looking strategy, but a shift where the focus is on tapping into China’s internal consumption patterns and domestic markets all the while aiming to buffer the impact of global economic headwinds and unpredictable external events on China’s economic and financial stability.
From a business perspective, we have seen an initial strong recovery in the Chinese economy and many Danish companies are reporting good growth and a positive near-term outlook as well as further investments in China in both manufacturing and sales channels. At the same time, most industries have been hit with one supply chain disruption after another – power shortages, congestion in US ports, all sorts of Covid caused delays, shutdowns, restrictions, limitations, and uncertainties. The general global shipping & transportation crisis has affected many of us and is expected to continue doing so far into 2022. Due to the Covid restrictions on travel to China, we can also see a growing disconnect between company headquarters in Denmark and us on the ground in China. The complexity level for running a business is certainly not getting smaller.
The Chinese economy as such reported a growth of 8.1%, but the second half cooled and 2022 will probably see a slower growth rate at an expected 5%.
As for the Danish Chamber of Commerce in China, the most noteworthy achievement was that on 8 December 2021 the North, East & South Chambers were officially joined into one united chamber, all under the license under the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Beijing (only 16 countries have this license). We will still be keeping the regional boards and activities – but a united chamber means that we stand much stronger and can use and share synergies across the country and across borders. The first Danish Chamber of commerce was established in 1926, and there have since been many smaller and bigger Danish chambers around the country in different periods – but this new united All China Chamber is the first time that we are all one, so it is quite a historic accomplishment.
In 2021 the Danish Chamber of Commerce in China welcomed 49 new members and associates. We held 141 events in total with 3200+ attendees online and offline. We received a record number of nominations for the Business Person of the Year event and held a spectacular gala at the original historic Shanghai Chamber of Commerce building. Our combined Wechat accounts have a total of 4743 followers, with 1003 new followers gained alone in 2021. We held 2 training programs with 40+ participants on the topics of Team Management and the Positive Impact of Emotional Intelligence.
The secretariats in Beijing and Shanghai have done a wonderful job in 2021 and have also grown a lot with the increased level of activity and the adaptation to becoming one united chamber. I would like to express a great thank you to everyone who has worked hard to make this possible, including all our members and supporters. 2021 has been a big year for us.
What can we expect for 2022?
First of all, Covid and supply chain disruptions are not going away any time soon. We will have to live with the difficulties, and opportunities, that this creates. Travel restrictions will impact most of us, and we may feel further apart from family and friends. Climate change will continue to impact our lives, and entirely new challenges may arrive in 2022. The business climate will continue to be tough and complex.
We can also expect a continuous difficult political environment between China and the West, and most probably what the experts call “Constructive Decoupling” within certain sectors. 2022 is also the year with the Winter Olympics, and in the fall the very important 20th CPC party congress will take place, and there will be changes in the national Chinese leadership. The preparations for this have already been underway throughout the country during much of 2021.
As for DCCC, the 3 regional boards, the mainboard, and the secretariats are pushing ahead with lots of new initiatives and excitement for the chamber in 2022. We will complete a rebranding of the chamber, we will improve, focus and optimize events to be more focused and relevant for all our members. And we will do more to work much closer with other chambers, DCBF, the Nordic chambers in China, and EUCCC.
Despite being fewer Danes in China, we will continue to expand our memberships and focus on engaging more employees from our member companies, by having them join events and become active in the chamber.
As for Danish businesses across China, being agile, flexible, innovative, and finding our way in the uncertain landscape is the way to go. Historically Danish businesses have been strong adapters, we are used to the fact that we are not necessarily calling the shots, but we always find our ways within the given situation. Working closely together with our stakeholders, customers, employees and each other can both strengthen the business and our performance levels.
Tigers are considered to be brave, cruel, forceful, and fearless. 2022 is the year of the Water Tiger, a year of all types of extremes, expansion, and competition. The Tiger encompasses all the traits of a leader: logical, determined, strong self-confidence, ability to overcome fear, and naturally takes risks while also successfully helping others.
Personal and organizational agility, working closely together, helping each other, being brave and determined will make this a great year for us all!