Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s visit to People’s Republic of China on 27-28 March marks the start of an anniversary year, highlighting the fact that it is 65 years since Sweden as the first western country established diplomatic relations with China (which took place on 9 May 1950!)
The last time Sweden and China highlighted their diplomatic relations was the 60 years anniversary in year 2010. The former Prime Minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt, then received China’s former President Xi Jinping in Stockholm, counsellor Gabriella Augustsson, Head of the Section for Public Diplomacy, Press and Communication at the Embassy of Sweden, Beijing told ScandAsia.
The Embassy of Sweden needed a logo for the activities throughout the year marking the diplomatic relations anniversary, and launched a design contest open to the public.
“The reason for running a competition was to generate engagement and to give opportunities for interactivity for our followers on social media. The initiative aimed at those using the social forums Weibo and Wechat,” said the counsellor.
“By reaching out to our followers and inviting them to be a part in this creative competition, we wish not only to inspire, but also to learn and to listen. In China, I am sure that there are many bright young minds that have great ideas on what this logo should look like. We are eager to see what they come up with”, she had commented when the competition was announced.
The result was to satisfaction as the competition generated great interest with over 200 entries sent to embassy. The top three designs were also invited to meet the Swedish ambassador and the first prize was a round-trip ticket to Sweden.
In addition all of the participating designs were published on the Weibo and Wechat accounts of the Embassy of Sweden, Beijing.
The winning design will serve as the major inspiration for the official Swedish logo of the 65th anniversary, with the logo to be used in various communication platforms, including websites, social media, events and other forms of publicity during 2015.
As for the forthcoming activities Gabriella Augustsson highlighted: “During 2015 the Swedish embassy in Beijing goes for the theme Health and Lifestyle, which will permeate our work during the year. Also the Swedish Government’s ambition to conduct a feminist foreign policy characterizes our work.”
“Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visits Beijing and Boao on an official visit on 27-28 March. Any possible future visits to China by Swedish ministers will be announced continuously on our website www.swedenabroad.com/en-GB/Embassies/Beijing/”
During the spring and summer the embassy will, among other things, arrange a ‘pre-departure’ event for prospective students at Swedish universities.
“Sweden’s National Day, 6 June, is another large event organised by the embassy. More information will be announced onwards during the year.”
Looking at the bilateral trade between the two countries the counsellor replied: “China is Sweden’s largest trade partner in Asia. Statistics from 2013 shows that Sweden’s export to China amounted to 39.5 billion SEK, while the import amounted to 53.4 billion SEK, which is about 5,1 per cent of Sweden’s total import.”
International trade statistics for 2014 show that total exports to China from Sweden was slightly lower: 46.45 billion SEK, with machinery and pharmaceutical products in top. To compare, the total import to China from the world was 13.4 trillion SEK.
Sweden’s import from China in 2014 was also slightly lower, at 49.8 billion SEK, with electrical, electronic equipment as the top import product category, followed by machinery and furniture, lighting and prefabricated buildings. Sweden’s total import from the world amounted to 1.1 trillion SEK.
“We have also noticed that more and more Chinese tourists apply for Swedish visas. Between 2013-2014 the increase was 64 per cent, as a consequence of that more and more Chinese are getting more well off, and thanks to the Swedish embassy’s short turnaround times for applications,” continued Gabriella Augustsson.