SEE Summit highlights how Ireland can benefit from China's growing population
Celebrating 10th successful year, the Sino- European Entrepreneurs Summit comes to Ireland for the first time
The Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit is an annual gathering of the foremost business, entrepreneurs and political leaders from China and Europe
The unprecedented scale of China’s urbanisation is leading to the creation of 221 cities with more than one million inhabitants by 2025. The rapid expansion of these cities means that local governments are facing huge difficulties. Their urban challenges have forced the Chinese to seek help from Europe in solving these challenges, ideally with convenient and effective solutions that can be implemented quickly, which means there are opportunities for Irish businesses to move into the Chinese market.
Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit
The Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit is an annual gathering of the foremost business, entrepreneurs and political leaders from China and Europe. The purpose of the SEES programme is to help Chinese business leaders and their European counterparts build personal relationships and share industry insights with one another while working towards establishing investment, trade and technology partnerships. Celebrating its 10th successful year, this is Ireland’s first time to host the event.
More than 100 high level Chinese business leaders, chief executive officers and investors will be arriving in to Ireland to discuss partnerships, trade deals and opportunities between Ireland and China. Industries covered will include finance, healthcare, agriculture, science & technology, cultural and creative, education and more.
The event will be co-chaired by Mr Long Yongtu, China’s former deputy minister of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the SEES Committee who are overseeing an investment project in to Ireland. Guest speakers will include the incoming Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency He Xiang Dong, Mr Duan Guosheng, CEO of Taikang Asset Management, and many other high level executives from China and Ireland.
IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, IBEC and other Irish business bodies will be speaking at the event.
Each of these 221 cities, and their local government-owned companies, have the financial capacity to invest in multiple European projects that can help tackle these problems such as pollution, sustainable farming, food production and infrastructure.
There is no shortage of funds due to strong competition among these Chinese cities to attract and develop innovative projects from the European Union.
A look at the technology, transport, food, medical/life sciences, energy and manufacturing sectors confirm that there is a wide scope of industries that Chinese partners are looking to invest in.
Made in China 2025
In 2015, the "Made in China 2025" strategy was launched. According to its policy, China will progressively abandon the low cost, labour intensive industries to develop innovative sectors. Chinese cities are looking at developing key technologically advanced solutions to become the most hi-tech smart cities in the world and competition among them is very strong. They are focusing on robotics, smart cars, renewables, aerospace and more.
There is no shortage of funds due to strong competition among these Chinese cities to attract and develop innovative projects from the European Union
This will lead to the delocalisation of some factories from China to Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa (Ethiopia) where labour costs are lower and then export production/products from these regions to China and other established developed markets (Europe, USA, Japan).
While opportunities are then present for software and hi-tech companies to partner with local Chinese governments, there will also be scope for manufacturing and export firms to assist in the expansion of production across southeast Asia and Eastern Africa as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
As China’s middle class starts to evolve, their incomes and eating habits are increasing, leading to the development of processed food. In 2015, China became the largest market in the world for consumption of processed food, marking a huge increase in health problems relating to cardiovascular and kidney diseases.
With awareness now growing about the effects of processed food on personal health, millennials and the middle class in larger Chinese cities are demanding safer, more organic and pesticide free food from food producers.
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of pesticides. With limited arable lands, Beijing’s priority remains the development of intensive farming. This overuse of pesticides generates massive pollution in China. Chinese rivers are suffering from alarming pesticide levels and, according to several clean energy studies, agriculture is a bigger source of water pollution than industries.
Soil contamination and air pollution are also consequences of agriculture’s reliance on pesticides.
Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about environment and regard pollution as one of the most important issues they face, which has lead authorities searching for solutions to reduce the use of pesticides in farming.
Ireland is considered by the Chinese as a very "green" country with a pristine environment
China’s economic model is changing, and Beijing is making environmental protection a priority by launching its "zero growth" plan in pesticide usage across the country by 2020. This plan includes banning the most toxic pesticides used in farming, resulting in China requiring the most advanced sustainable solutions in organic farming.
Although the organic farming market in China is still at an early stage, China will soon be the 4th largest market for organic food and will seek partnerships from similar Irish and EU projects to help them meet this high demand.
All of the above presents numerous prospects for food exporters, sustainable farmers and innovative tech companies in Ireland to target this market. According to recent EU Commission studies, Chinese consumers tend to have greater trust in non-Chinese products, especially in products designed for children and infants.
Ireland is considered by the Chinese as a very "green" country with a pristine environment, so Irish manufacturers and exporters are encouraged to emphasise this quality in their marketing and communication materials.
Irish companies are currently facing challenges of presenting their companies or products to relevant investors and trade partners in Asia. There are also the financial costs of travel to a country like China when a business owner might only have been able to arrange a small number of meetings. Additionally there are language barriers to overcome.