On 14 April 2015 Danish-Chinese Business Forum held its Annual Meeting to review the Forum’s activities and the highlights of Danish-Chinese relations of 2014.
Prominent speakers including Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Chinese Ambassador Liu Biwei took the floor to provide the 120 participants with interesting insights on the opportunities and challenges for Danish businesses in China.
Following the welcome by the two Chairmen, Mogens Christensen, Chief of Court gave a speech on behalf of His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, Patron of Danish-Chinese Business Forum, who had fallen ill and could not partake. His Royal Highness the Prince Consort expressed great appreciation for the activities of Danish-Chinese Business Forum and the royal couple’s visit to China.
In his speech the Prime Minister addressed the all-time high of Danish-Chinese diplomatic relations and the increased importance of bilateral ties. Pointing the attention to China was an on-going priority for the current government, and results had been achieved since the PM took office in October 2011.
Denmark-China trade has doubled over the past years and more than 500 Danish companies are operating in China. According to the Chinese embassy in Denmark, the China-Denmark trade volume in 2014 rose 16.7 percent year-on-year to $10.6 billion.
The PM also highlighted the importance of China for Danish commercial activities and the great opportunities for Danish key competencies to be part of solving the problems that China currently faces.
“My government is determined to seize these opportunities and make our relations with China even stronger,” she said.
“Chinese economy still continues to expand every year in absolute terms, and Chinese growth remains truly impressive also by general international standards.”
The two countries are celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year.
“We must use this opportunity of celebration to go even further,” she said. “I believe we have both the right conditions and the right political framework to bring our commercial ties with China to a new level, and I am certain that we will get there.”
China’s Ambassador to Denmark also touched upon the positive relations between Denmark and China. The Ambassador shared his appreciation of the state visit in April and the PM’s official visit in 2014 as great symbols for the all-time high entering the 65th year of the diplomatic bilateral relations. The ambassador called on further policy coordination between the countries and a hope for increased cooperation in establishing the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
On China starting this bank Liu said: “I believe that as the initiative is gradually carried out, the improved connectivity between Asia and Europe will enhance the economic and trade exchanges between China and Nordic countries such as Denmark.”
After a short break, Stephen Phillips, Chairman of EU China Business Association and Chief Executive of China Britain Business Council, provided great insights on the prospects for business in China. Stephen Philips started with an elaboration of the on-going economic reforms and macro-environmental changes in China. Among his main points were the strong commitment to reform by Beijing leadership, the fight on corruption and the expectations for a ‘new normal’ to be displayed in this year’s five year plan.
Stephen Phillips also provided an understanding of the increasingly complex investment relations and drivers for business opportunities in China. To wrap up his presentation he touched upon the global presence of China in the years to come.
Torben Nielsen, CEO of Kopenhagen Fur, gave the final keynote speech, presented the company’s journey of doing business with China. Torben Nielsen took the audience through a storyline of Kopenhagen Fur’s success with Chinese consumers and the challenges they have overcome along the way.
Finally, Professor Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Director of Asia Research Centre, Copenhagen Business School and Guo Xin, Deputy General Manager, Bank of China (Stockholm Branch) joined Torben Nielsen and Stephen Phillips on the podium for a panel debate.
Kopenhagen Fur hosted the event at their headquarters in Glostrup.
Danish-Chinese Business Forum is an independent, non-profit, executive network organisation that aims to strengthen commercial ties between Denmark and China. The network acts as an enabler of knowledge exchange among companies and organisations with a common interest in Danish-Chinese business relations.
Founded in 2005, the network today counts more than 600 business executives with first hand experience of doing business in China and whose combined strengths affect the decision-makers. Having received official recognition from both Danish and Chinese authorities, Danish-Chinese Business Forum is acknowledged as the prime link between Sino-Danish commercial interests.