Woodworking companies from Finland, Estonia and Latvia on their way to Chinese market

A group of woodworking companies from Finland, Estonia and Latvia strive for the Chinese market. The project started this year includes three networking visits to China and one from China to Finland. In addition, the project arranges open education to everyone.

11.11.2019 | By: Anne Sankari | Photo: Anne Sankari; Mikko Lehtonen ja Markku Paukkunen (China)

Paukkunen ja Lehtonen kippistelevät puukuksilla.

Markku Paukkunen and Mikko Lehtonen have an intermediate objective of getting a sauna visit at the end of the project to a recently sold new Finnish sauna in China.

The first exploring and networking visit was in July involving 38 people. The target was a woodworking fair in Shanghai and Wujin Green Building Demonstration Zone in Changzhou. Next year, the idea is for us to have our own stand in two fairs. The companies involved are so different from each other that just one fair does not serve everyone.

What makes companies interested in this LEF China project?

– This gives an easy access to come along, as we can offer the companies mitigation to familiarize with the Chinese market. They also benefit from their mutual relationships within and between the countries, Markku Paukkunen and Mikko Lehtonen describe.

Mikko Lehtonen, researcher, is the project’s manager in Finland, and Markku Paukkunen, China expert, is responsible for operating in China. There are Gu Hancao (Hanna) and Mingxi Shi (Effy) working in China in the Changzhou office of SAMK. For Lehtonen China is a new experience, whereas Paukkunen can combine his experience in woodworking with his China knowledge.

High value-added products instead of sawn timber

Finland has traditions of exporting sawn timber to China. This project tries to find market for higher value-added products, from wooden strips to garden saunas and modular houses.

The project involves closely 19 companies, seven both from Latvia and Estonia and five from Finland, including Tammiston Puu from Hinnerjoki, Eura, in Satakunta. The company is looking for a partner from China for the delivery of various garden structures. But it is not an easy thing to do.

– Without the project it would be even more difficult to find. This is an excellent opportunity for searching, Henri Murtojärvi, Key Account Manager, says.

Ihmisiä neuvottelupöytien ääressä.

Henri Murtojärvi etualalla vasemmalla. | Henri Murtojärvi at front, on the left.

The project gives the opportunity to explore the modes of operation and to see in practice what must be thought of in advance when hoping for a place in the Chinese market.

– Effy and Hanna have done a lot for everything to be working extremely well. Organizing is really good.

Journey to China is long, no fast bucks ahead

– We have a good team. Nobody has been looking for instant wins. Many have said that now the first steps have been taken. And we are able to give support relatively well for the first steps, Lehtonen tells us.

– The entire project is a proof of a persevering work, Paukkunen says.

Already now, some of the companies have done business.

– There are contacts that have known you for a long time. You can find new contacts, but it takes years to be in a situation where any matchmaking can be talked about.

– There is a huge potential in China, but it does not open before you visit China and see the scale, Paukkunen says.

18 educational days altogether

Export education (in English), free of charge, continues:

25 Nov. Riga

27 Nov. Tallinn

29 Nov. Helsinki, 9 a.m.–  4 p.m. N.B. Distance participation through HILL-online available. See details in SAMK’s event calendar, the programme is in English).

Ryhmäkuva, 30-40 henkiloa

Heinäkuisella Kiinan-matkalla. | On China trip in July.

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