Networking in Beijing and Harbin in August 2017

FEFEn projektikoordinaattori, Pohjois-Karjalan maakuntaliiton Meijiao Xue-Pykäläinen, vieraili Pekingissä ja Harbinissa elokuussa 2017. Hän tapasi matkan aikana erilaisia yhteistyökumppaneita ja johdatti pohjoiskarjalaisen Kontiomehu Oy:n edustajat vierailulle Harbiniin paikallisen mehunvalmistajan luokse.
Meijiao kertoo matkasta näin:

The program of August China trip starts with a very welcoming weather in Beijing, “only” 38°C and a super “pleasant” sun in the sky. On 4th August, I participated in the 6th China International Senior Services Expo held in Beijing International Convention Center.

The Expo was held during 4th–6th of August in Beijing, exhibition area is 22000 m2. There are totally about 220 exhibitors from more than 20 countries and regions including public and social organizations, educational institutions, and enterprises. A number of Chinese and foreign innovations and products designed for ageing people are exhibited. With the support of International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and several foreign embassies in China, associations and institutions on nursing and elderly care from Canada, England, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan participated in the Expo. In addition, a few domestic vocational education institutions presented as well.

This exhibition was a very beneficial experience. Not only did I get to know some of the current trend of the senior service industry in China, but also received knowledge about foreign actors in the field in China.

After the exhibition I headed to Harbin and prepared the matchmaking meeting between Kontiomehu Oy and Harbin Organic Island Food Co., Ltd. On the arrival day of the Finnish representatives, the host company offered a lovely welcome dinner. Some of the local officials also attended. The atmosphere was of great hospitality, both guests and host had a great time.

On the next day 8th of August, the host company took us on a site visiting tour of blackcurrant farmland to Hailin county, which is around 3,5 hour driving from Harbin.

Hailin is county-level city around 300 km east to Harbin. It is a mountainous area with 90% of forest. It has been told by the local officials that the land is not suitable for growing crops, but rather good for berries, particularly blackcurrant. Therefore Hailin is well known for its blackcurrant farming. Hailin county is divided into 8 towns, from which Hengdao town is the main farming site of blackcurrant. At the moment, there are nearly 300 ha blackcurrant farm and there is great potential for development and expansion.

According to the president of Kontiomehu Oy, the local blackcurrant specie is very similar to the Finnish ones. Because of the season, it is normal that leaves are a bit old and dry after berry harvesting, but using as raw materials should be no problem. Due to the recent rain storm in northeastern China, however, road condition is too challenging to reach the greater area of farmland for visiting. A week after the site visit, more photos were delivered by the local authority.

The following day 9th of August, the factory visit of Harbin Organic Island Co. Ltd. was arranged.

Harbin Organic Island Food Co. LTD. was founded in 2006 with registered capital of 30 million RMB. It is a private enterprise concentrating on export business to South Korea and Japan with main products of organic corn tea, organic barley tea and so on. The company has its own 3000 ha organic base, the annual export value 4 million USD. The company constantly develops new products by using local raw materials from Heilongjiang province and their products featured by its health benefits.

Representatives of Kontiomehu Oy paid a visiting tour in the factory and were impressed by the tea production. This is the second meeting between Kontiomehu Oy and Harbin Organic Island Food Co. LTD. since their initial meeting in Joensuu during the visit of Heilongjiang Delegation in October 2016. Both companies are very satisfied with the visiting days in Harbin including the study tour to blackcurrant farmland. Both sides expressed strong interests to negotiate possibilities of cooperation. With the knowledge of each other’s background and personal experiences on site, a sound foundation for bilateral collaboration has been set up. Both Finnish and Chinese enterprises promised to take serious consideration on the model of business cooperation as next step. FEFE-project will keep working as the link and coordinator in this case and all kinds of assistance necessary will be offered to the companies.

After the factory visit, we had a brief city tour in Harbin. As Pasi Kiiskinen and Markku Takanen from Kontiomehu Oy were first time visitors to Heilongjiang, Harbin as well as to China,  the most well-known sightseeing spots of Harbin city were briefly introduced to them: the Central (Walking) Street, the Flood Control Monument, Songhua River, and Sophia Church. With great satisfaction of the business meeting and wonderful shopping experiences, delegates of Kontiomehu Oy left Harbin.

On Thursday 10th of August, a meeting was held with Daqing Feixiang Ski Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Daqing Feixiang Ski Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is very interested in collaborate with Finnish ski companies to produce high quality skis. During the North Karelian delegation’s visit to Harbin in June 2017, Feixiang Ski made the contact with Regional Council of North Karelia the support of Chinese through local authorities. KSF Sport Oy in Kitee would be the desired partner for the Chinese company. After discussing with both Chinese and Finnish companies separately, it seems that both sides are eager to negotiate the possibilities of cooperation. The Chinese company is planning to pay a visit to Finland in autumn.

On Friday 11th of August, a brief meeting was set with Heilongjiang Rehabilitation Assistive Devices Center

The Heilongjiang Rehabilitation Assistive Devices Center, formerly as Heilongjiang Assistive Devices Service Center for the Disabled was established in 1958. It is under the administration of Department of Civil Affairs of Heilongjiang, and it is the only notified welfare organization by the Heilongjiang government for serving the veterans and disabled.

Intention of visiting was expressed during the meeting and the director of the Center Mr. Zhang welcomes visitors from North Karelia in October.

Before departing from Harbin, meetings with Department of Commerce and Department of Civil Affairs of Heilongjiang government were held as well. During the meeting with Vice Director General Zhao Wujun and Division Director of International Trade and Economic Affairs, we reviewed the visit of North Karelian delegation in June and discussed the future cooperation. Plan of visiting Harbin with Finnish companies in October was also informed.

Department of Civil Affairs is positive to all kinds of cooperative activities between Heilongjiang and North Karelia in the involved area. As to the Rehabilitation Assistive Devices Center, the Department will give full support for the visiting guests from Finland. If necessary, the Department will send representative to accompany the foreign guests to the Center.

The whole trip was very fruitful and further promoted the connection between two regions as well as their enterprises and organizations. We have reasons to believe that the bilateral cooperation of Heilongjiang and North Karelia will reach greater achievements.

Meijiao Xue-Pykäläinen
Project Coordinator
FEFE project


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