Chinese investors are drawn by the presence of core competences
CASE STORY | More and more Chinese-owned companies are establishing operations in Skåne. Among the recent arrivals, is telecom giant, Huawei. With the University town of Lund as their local base, they are investing in the development of modem technology.
25 years ago, the Chinese company, Huawei was barely visible on the global telecoms map. Today, it has 140,000 employees globally. Part of Tord Wingren’s job is to hire about 50 more employees in Lund, over the coming two years. “Huawei regards this as a long term investment and intends to build up world leading competence in modem technology for cellular systems here. Start-ups in this region can come up with fantastic new ideas, and enjoy a positive symbiosis with the big companies,” says Tord.
Huawei already has offices in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Why Lund as well?
“Lund has the core competences we’re looking for. What’s more, the region has become famous for its skill in telecommunications, and there’s more focus on consumer electronics here than in Stockholm. Another important factor is being so close to universities in Lund, Malmö and Denmark.”
After many years in which Swedish production has been moving to China, we are now seeing several examples of investment in the other direction. In 2006, the Chinese medical giant Dongbai Biopharmaceutical, set up manufacturing operations at Ferring’s old factory in Limhamn - under the name Rechon Life Science. Dongbao is one of China’s biggest producers of insulin and Rechen’s 65 employees now produce advanced medicines, primarily for the European market.
In 2011, the Chinese company DingLi Communications acquired the Helsingborg company, Amanzitel. Its research and development resources were transferred from China to Sweden and about 30 employees now sell products, services and solutions for a range of data networks. “China is a big market and this deal enables our products and solutions to reach it. It also supports our expansion into other countries,” says Ian Vernon, Managing Director of Amanzitel,” in an interview with Southern Sweden’s leading newspaper, Sydsvenskan, May 2011.
Tord Wingren, previously managing director for Ericsson Mobile Platforms and head of Samsung’s European operations, observes that southern Sweden has become well known among Chinese investors as a quick-footed and creative market. “Invest in Skåne has helped market the region successfully in China, showcasing its local competences at trade fairs and suchlike. One key thing they’ve done is tailor make presentation material for companies who might be interested in setting up in Sweden,” he says.
What could we do to attract more investors?
“It’s always possible to raise the bar even further! With more economic muscle, we could put together financial incentives. The actual establishment process for businesses here can be quite complicated, so we would have a lot to gain from offering readymade start-up solutions, including office or production facilities and rental contracts,” say Tord Wingren.
Article and photographs by: Björn Solfors
BACKGROUND / Tord Wingren
Tord Wingren comes most recently from the role of managing director for Nanoradio. He also worked at Ericsson for 18 years, including a job as Managing Director of Ericsson Mobile Platforms in Lund, before being recruited in 2003 to lead the European branch of Korean company Samsung. Tord Wingren has also been the head of development at German Digital Imaging Systems and sits on the board for Anyfi Networks, Mobill and Zimpl. He lives in Malmö with his family.