Timber companies to the Chinese market – a brand new showroom in Changzhou
SAMK helps companies producing processed wood items in entering the Chinese market with LEF Network to China together with Chamber of Commerce and timber companies from Finland, Estonia and Latvia.
At the Trade Fair in China.
The Latvian Chamber of Commerce asked for four years ago whether SAMK wanted to become a partner in an international project. They had heard SAMK had a good reputation amongst Chinese operators. SAMK accepted the request, so the cooperation began to help companies specialized in processed wood from Finland, Estonia and Latvia in entering into the Chinese market. These partner companies offer a wide range of products from special wooden strips to log buildings.
Cooperation had begun well when the COVID-19 pandemia hit the world. Now the project is getting back to the rails. One additional year was granted for the project. This spring we participated to the Wood Trade Fair in Shanghai.
– China has eased the restrictions internally. We got a lot of new contacts at the Fair. We are planning B2B-meetings for our partner companies and Chinese counterparts, tells the project manager Mikko Lehtonen.
Anna Feng works for the project, at the Trade Fair she worked as an exhibition designer. In China our collaborators are Gu Hancao (Hanna) and Mingxi Shi, who both work for SAMK China.
Students benefit from the project
– We opened a showroom for the products of partner companies after the Trade Fair. All products were transported by train via Russia to Changzhou. There they are now, at the premises of our partner company Kihome. There is even one sauna from Satakunta, Lehtonen smiles.
– At the opening of the Showroom the leaders of the city were present. The local television reported the news. You don’t easily get this kind of attention in China without a long-term cooperation. When we visit Changzhou with our partner companies, the doors are already open for us, tells Markku Paukkunen, an expert in China.
– The doors are open for our students too. Cooperation has been really fruitful until now, we hope it will continue the same way. Markku has opened a very good way for us to the Chinese market, adds Lehtonen.
Students have already benefited from the project. Students in Business Administration created export plans for the Finnish partner companies with lector Leena Sääski.
– We worked in small groups, every group had to draft a plan for one company. It was a challenging task, but both companies and students gave positive feedback about the project and their learning process, comments Lehtonen.
Link to SAMK strategy
A lot has happened around this project, for instance trainings concentrated on the Chinese market, export, marketing and sales. Estonia led an extended market survey on Chinese market for processed wood products.
–There are so many different target groups in China potentially interested in our knowhow. For example, various international brands and ecological aspects are popular in China nowadays, Lehtonen says.
– We focus on the prospering middle class in China. Some of them are ready to pay for Nordic products, Markku Paukkunen concludes.
The project is linked to the SAMK strategy.
– SAMK is a University of Applied Sciences focusing on industry, building international relationships and making an impact in the whole region. All these strategic aspects are met in the project, Lehtonen says.