Today (on day 6 of our trip) we had to wake up early to catch our train to Jinan. The staff at our hotel was so nice, they even prepared breakfast bags for everyone to take with. A minibus was already waiting outside to take us to the Beijing South railway station. Everything went smoothly since the whole system in the railway station was well organized. After a quick security check, we found the right platform in no time.
Our agenda in Jinan was to visit two companies: ÅF Pöyry and LiNuo Group. ÅF Pöyry was the first excursion of the day and our host, Pertti Koivuniemi – the Vice President of ÅF Pöyry in Jinan, had kindly organized a bus for the day. It picked us up from the railway station and took us from a place to place in Jinan.
At ÅF Pöyry, Pertti gave us a presentation of the company and their operations in China. ÅF Pöyry in Jinan has specialized in projects in paper and pulp industry but they have some co-operation with the chemical industry as well. We had pizza for lunch and discussed about the differences between Finnish and Chinese work cultures. We learned that the Chinese work environment is all about networking. It is vital to have good connections, since the culture is very social and appreciates different communities such as family and friends. We also heard more about the energy sector in China from the viewpoint of ÅF Pöyry Management Consulting. Cyber security plays an important role in business, and one way for companies to deal with the problem is to restrict the access of their employees and associates to their databases. One interesting difference compared to Finland is that it is more difficult to sell know-how or services in China. Typically, people appreciate actual products that they can see and touch themselves.
The bus took us to the Linuo Group office, where they also have production lines. First, we walked around an exhibition hall, where Linuo had their products displayed in an impressive way. We learned that they manufacture products for various industries, but the main part of their profit comes from fine chemicals. After the tour, we were taken to see their production lines for heat pumps and solar collectors. Most of their production lines that we saw were automated. We also got to see their laboratories for testing the products and simulating the environments the products have to endure. Finally, we had an interesting discussion with our hosts about topics such as the future of renewable energy in China and in Finland. Our hosts were familiar with the Finnish company Savosolar!
After the visit to LiNuo Group the bus drove us to our hotel. The hotel was much bigger and fancier than the one before, which was nice. We were surprised by the fact that the menus at restaurants were only in Chinese, and they didn’t even have any pictures either. Therefore, ordering food was a bit challenging but luckily we have Silja who saved the day again with her Chinese skills. Jinan was beautiful during the night time, especially the Daming Lake with all the lights.
Next stop is Qingdao!