Air pollution and acrobatics
As our first activity of the day we visited the embassy of Finland in the business district of Beijing. It located about 10 km from our hotel. The building was very nice and we very astonished by the view from the embassy’s 26th floor.
The embassy provided us with three presentations about China in general, the Finnish trade and companies in China and what it is like to work in China as a Finnish hockey coach from Kainuu. The presentations were interesting and we had many questions especially to the Chair of Finnish Trade Committee. Apparently, the number of Finnish companies in China has increased quite a lot during the last decade and there’s now approximately 400 Finnish companies in China. However, for Finnish companies it might be easier to cooperate with a local company since alone they might face certain difficulties.
As for working in China, the locals work according to the “nine-nine-six”, that is from nine to nine six days a week. The Finnish hockey coach had also had some difficulties with the working hours, since they were so irregular. Also, the working legislation isn’t as advanced as in Finland. A case in point, one Finnish man was fired when he was re-applying his visa in Finland with a message “I don’t know what to say”.
In the end of the excursion we explained the current trends in the energy sector to the embassy’s workers followed by discussion on the subject. In the western countries we want to overcome the global threat of climate change as for in China the driving force in the energy sector is reducing the air pollution. Government’s interest is to keep the people happy and the air pollution is one of the things that bothers them most.
There is demand for Finnish cleantech in China and one example is the Finnish company called Vaisala who works in the field of weather and environment monitoring. Their office located near the embassy and there we were told more about the air pollution in Beijing and China in general. However, before the actual presentation we enjoyed a delicious lunch and learned more about the Chinese kitchen, guided by the head of Vaisala China.
After the lunch we learned that the amount of air pollution varies in a large scale. On a bad day in Beijing you might not be able to see further than the building across the street. However, on the good days, the air quality might be even better than the average in Helsinki. So the situation in Beijing isn’t as bad as you may think. This is due to the fact that the officials are strictly controlling the industry and a lot of factories has been moved to another parts of China.
For Vaisala, China has been important part of their business for a long time. The reason why they have succeeded to take their share of the markets is the quality of their products. Without the excellent product quality and a reputation of a trust-worthy business partner, the local competitors would for sure be chosen before Vaisala as the supplier.
The rest of the day we spend enjoying a breathtaking Chinese acrobatic show and the night views from above the city in a skyscraper. Chinese acrobats surprised us with their talents. We saw ten women driving one bike, a man balancing on top of eight chairs in the height close to ten meters and eight motorcycles in a sphere steel cage, for example. It was also amusing to notice that there were a lot of Chinese people who looked more like tourists with their tourist guides than we did and in addition to the acrobatic theatre, we were also and attraction to see for them. However, the local taxi drivers were less interested in us when we tried to get a taxi to the hotel after visiting the skyscraper…