Our new location for Innovation House Shanghai 2015

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Innovation House Shanghai is a full-service business incubator strategically located in the heart of downtown Shanghai. It’s central location and proximity to public transporation provides easy access to all of Shanghai. It’s only one floor above the Innovation Norway Shanghai Office.

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Innovation House Shanghai provides a safer and more cost-effective platform in a pulsating international and Chinese environment for Norwegian entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs with ambitions to develop and grow a business in China. No matter what stage or sector your company is in, this could be your springboard to the Chinese market.

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Happy Chinese New Year, 2015! (Year of Goat)

  • Traditional Food

A reunion dinner, named as “Nian Ye Fan”, is held on New Year’s Eve during which family members gather for celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year’s Eve dinner is very large and sumptuous and traditionally includes dishes of meat (namely, pork and chicken) and fish. Most reunion dinners also feature a communal hot pot as it is believed to signify the coming together of the family members for the meal. Most reunion dinners (particularly in the Southern regions) also prominently feature specialty meats (e.g. wax-cured meats like duck and Chinese sausage) and seafood (e.g. lobster andabalone) that are usually reserved for this and other special occasions during the remainder of the year. In most areas, fish (traditional Chinese: 魚; simplified Chinese: 鱼; pinyin: ) is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase “may there be surpluses every year” (traditional Chinese: 年年有餘; simplified Chinese: 年年有余; pinyin: niánnián yǒu yú) sounds the same as “let there be fish every year.” Eight individual dishes are served to reflect the belief of good fortune associated with the number. If in the previous year a death was experienced in the family, seven dishes are served.

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  • Hong Bao

Traditionally, Red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai sze or lai see) (利是, 利市 or 利事; Pinyin: lìshì); (Mandarin: ‘hóngbāo’ (红包); Hokkien: ‘ang pow’ (POJ: âng-pau); Hakka: ‘fung bao’); are passed out during the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children.

Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金: báijīn). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for “wealth”), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. The number six (六, liù) is also very lucky as it sounds like ‘smooth’ (流, liú), in the sense of having a smooth year. The number four (四)is the worst because its homophone is “death” (死).Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.

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  • Gift Exchange

In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from older people to younger people, small gifts (usually food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, and never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and candies.

Certain items cannot be given as they are considered taboo. These include clocks (symbolizes escorting someone to the grave), green hats (mean infidelity), shoes (sounds like a sigh), pears (sounds like separation), handkerchiefs (used in funerals) umbrellas (sounds like closing), and any sharp bladed objects such as scissors and knives (symbolizes cutting ties).

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  • Fireworks

Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. Firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung down. Each firecracker is rolled up in red papers, as red is auspicious, with gunpowder in its core. Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud popping noise and, as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, the firecrackers are known for their deafening explosions that are thought to scare away evil spirits. The burning of firecrackers also signifies a joyful time of year and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations.

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Marit Brandal and Bodil Hollingsather from Innovation Norway visited Shanghai office

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Left to Right: Mrs. Marit Karlsen Brandal, Mr. Paal Braathen and Mrs. Bodil Palma Hollingsather

Innovation Norway Shanghai was pleased to receive two guests, Mrs. Marit Karlsen Brandal from the Rogaland office and Mrs. Bodil Palma Hollingsather from the Møre & Romsdal office with us during the past couple of days. We were accompanying Marit and Bodil to visit key local partners for Innovation Norway Shanghai with the goal for the district offices to learn more about China and to explore ways in which our offices can improve our cooperation and to share valuable experiences and create more initiatives and innovation.

Our itinerary included the following:

Chinaccelerator

Chinaccelerator is one of the best places for seed to early-stage startups that have the potential to expand globally to begin their journey. So far, their 3-month accelerator 20program has taken 6 teams of extraordinary founders and propelled them towards their full potential. Chinaccelerator’s focus is on the ICT field in an international environment for the start-ups. IN Shanghai thinks this might be a viable option for our startups from Norway to test their market in China.23

 

Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park

The Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park is a technology park in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China. It is operated by Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. The park specializes in research in life sciences, software, semiconductors, and information technology. There were 110 research and development institutions, 3,600 companies and 100,000 workers located in the16 technology park. In some circles the park is also known as China’s Silicon Valley. Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park is one of the crown-jewel industrial parks in Shanghai. The government has put a lot of effort into it and the results can be seen in all the well-known international Hi-Technology companies located here. More recently, the management team has focused on recruiting more SMEs because they believe the experience embedded in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park’s programs can help SMEs grow in the local market. IN Shanghai is very excited about exploring a separate project with Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park.12

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipyard (SWS)

Founded in 1999, SWS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China CSSC Holding Ltd., a publicly listed company controlled by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). In 2011, SWS became the first shipya27rd in China with an annual production over 8 million DWT (Dead Weight Tons – 36 vessels in total), and hence known as the “Number one Shipbuilding Company in China”. Driven by the government’s encouragement, China’s shipbuilders are shifting to high-end marine machinery manufacturers, targeting developed energy markets.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the visit from Bodil and Marit and would like to thank them for their initiative for this fruitful exchange and at the same time encourage more IN district offices to come and visit Shanghai and other parts of Asia and see and feel the incredible change that is going on and that is creating business opportunities for Norwegian companies in China and Asia.

Doing Business in China with Paal Braathen pt. 4

Are you hungry for knowledge to help you understand China?

The fourth post in our podcast series will go deeper into the possible mistakes a Norwegian company who establish business in China can make.

Enjoy!

 

 

About Paal Braathen:

Paal has wide management background from both publicly listed and privately held technology companies with significant international operations. Broad, multicultural competence based on long experience from several countries and regions. Comprehensive Asia experience after 23 years of business activities in the region with key focus on South East Asia, China and Japan.

Opening Ceremony for the 22nd BI-Fudan MBA Programme

On November 21st, Innovation Norway Shanghai was invited to speak at the opening ceremony of the 22nd BI-Fudan MBA programme at Shanghai University in Shanghai. Paal Braathen, Commercial Consul and Director of Innovation Norway, spoke about the Norwegian industry sector and the Norwegian economy in general. The presentation provided a picture of the investment climate in Norway, and gave insight into why and how to invest in Norway.

 

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Doing Business in China with Paal Braathen pt. 3

Are you hungry for knowledge to help you understand China?

The third post in our podcast series inform you about how Innovation Norway Shanghai can help Norwegian companies wanting to do business in China.

Enjoy!

 

 

About Paal Braathen:

Paal has wide management background from both publicly listed and privately held technology companies with significant international operations. Broad, multicultural competence based on long experience from several countries and regions. Comprehensive Asia experience after 23 years of business activities in the region with key focus on South East Asia, China and Japan.

The mining group Mitas recently visited Innovation Norway and Shanghai

On Monday, Innovation Norway Shanghai was invited to give a presentation for MITAS, a Norwegian group of mining related companies. MITAS consists of several Norwegian small and medium sized companies, with competencies offering hardware solutions, software solutions, consulting services and technology development solutions for the mining industry. They were in China to visit Trio; one of China’s largest mining companies; and BAOMA; one of China’s largest mining exhibitions. Innovation Norway provided MITAS with a broad overview of the development of the Chinese market and Chinese market opportunities, in addition to an introduction to doing business in China.

MITAS

Doing business in China with Paal Braathen pt.2

Are you hungry for knowledge to help you understand China?

The second post in our podcast series will look closely at which factors you should have in mind when establishing business in China, and how you can leverage these factors to your advantage.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Ivar: You mentioned that there was a big shift and China is going from a manufacturing country to a consumption country. And you mentioned that for Norwegian companies, exporting companies, they need to look at how their customer base is shifting from Europe and the West to Asia and China. So, this means that Norwegian businesses need to look at China now seriously because China is where the future is. How should they approach the fact that they need to go to China? What can they do? Do they set up a company here? Do they just come here? What’s the approach here?

Paal: Well, China is an extremely dynamic market. It’s a different business culture from, let’s say, the West. We have, I would say, a non-traditional approach. We sell our products based on product features, price, and in a basically open market approach. I think that the key difference when coming to China is to understand that the market here is extremely dynamic. It’s a very fast moving market and there will be competitors around every corner. However, I mean if you do have a competitive product in terms of its features and price you still need to come here and create trust around your company and the product itself. Creating trust ties in with the Chinese mentality that they are skeptical to do business with people they don’t really know.

And here we come to the key point of our relationship building. Meaning that Chinese mentality implies that there needs to be a level of trust over time to understand that you will be there also next week, next month, and next year and that they can rely on you as a supplier. This is not extremely different if you look at it from the outside from the west, but it means more here. It is important to respect that way of doing business, the flexibility.

So, how do you start? Well you start by coming here and be very open to the way the Chinese want to approach it. Meaning that you may not get business for many, many trips. You have to figure out how you are going to sell your product into this market: directly, indirectly, via a middle man, traders, importers, partners. Define that strategy based on the understanding of the market and from there building the relationship over time with the people you are going to work with in China. This takes time but– One of the biggest pitfalls is that people underestimate the time they need to invest in the market entry, and they look upon China as they look upon markets in the West – as a more transaction-based business, which is not the case here.

The case is that you must take a more long term view. I call it “feet on the ground”. You have to come here, you have to travel around, get to know people, and they need to get to know you. They need to get to know you as a person, because the boundarues between private and business life are smaller here. You, as a person, are the one they want to do business with and build a relationship with. So, don’t underestimate the importance of coming here, spending time with people, getting to know them. Let them get to know you! It is within the framework of that relationship that you can build your business, develop it, and you can solve challenges and problems that may come up. In this way, you have a more sustainable and predictable business development in China. That would be my key point. It’s patience, flexibility, adaptability, and to be very open-minded. It sounds very easy, it’s not. It takes time, but you have to prioritize it and it’s a different way of doing business than we are used to in the West.

 

 

About Paal Braathen:

Paal has wide management background from both publicly listed and privately held technology companies with significant international operations. Broad, multicultural competence based on long experience from several countries and regions. Comprehensive Asia experience after 23 years of business activities in the region with key focus on South East Asia, China and Japan.

Podcast Series About Doing Business in China With Paal Braathen

Are you hungry for knowledge to help you understand China?

Innovation House Shanghai will be launching a new podcast series with Paal Braathen, the head of Innovation Norway Shanghai. The podcast series will cover relevant topics for Norwegian businesses wanting to do business or establish in China. Each post will be based on a question from the Innovation House Shanghai team, asked with the aim of helping businesses to understand how to do business in China.

The first post will look closely at the development trends seen in the Asian region, including China, and what it means businesses worldwide.

Enjoy!

 

Today’s topic:

What are the most significant development trends for Asia, including China, over the past ten years?

 

 

About Paal Braathen:

Paal has wide management background from both publicly listed and privately held technology companies with significant international operations. Broad, multicultural competence based on long experience from several countries and regions. Comprehensive Asia experience after 23 years of business activities in the region with key focus on South East Asia, China and Japan.