Wooing Chinese Investors|

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 感恩亲情 点击:

  While China has become a haven for foreign investment, some developed countries are becoming increasingly interested in absorbing China’s new wealth and spare no efforts in promoting themselves. The Netherlands, China’s second largest trading partner in the EU, is among these countries. Before the opening of the 10th China International Fair for Investment and Trade, Han Feenstra, Director for China of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency in Shanghai, sat down with Beijing Review reporter Yu Shujun to talk about Chinese investment in his home country.
  Beijing Review: How many Chinese enterprises have invested in the Netherlands? In which sectors?
  Han Feenstra: Last year, we had more than 10 successful projects from China, doubling the figure of 2004. It’s really growing. By now there are close to 100 Chinese companies in the Netherlands. However, most of these are trading companies, often quite small. They’re from virtually every sector, including textiles, electronics, IT, machine building, foodstuffs and telecommunications.
  Of course, current investors also include big name companies from China, including Huawei, BYD and ZTE from Shenzhen and Haier from Qingdao. A large number of Chinese companies have shown substantial interest in setting up in the Netherlands in the near future.
  I expect that more and more Chinese companies will be in touch with us to learn more about the Netherlands. But it’s still very difficult to predict how many companies will actually set up in the Netherlands or in Europe. I don’t expect Europe will be flooded with Chinese companies in the short term. China’s investment in foreign countries is still at an early stage. In the middle to long term, however, many Chinese companies will use the Netherlands as a home base for the European market.
  How have the Chinese companies you just mentioned performed in the Netherlands?
  Huawei is doing very well, and has some good contracts from Dutch telecom providers. Soon, more than 50 percent of the Dutch population will make a phone call through Huawei’s equipment. Begun with only one person, their staff in Amsterdam has increased to close to 200 employees within two years. They are using the Netherlands as an operational center for Western Europe, for distribution to other European countries, and as a training center. Huawei is an excellent example of how companies can use the Netherlands.
  Haier has set up its European headquarters for its IT products in the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands and is also expanding very fast.
  What are the modes of entry of Chinese investment to the Netherlands?
  Most companies started with setting up their own trading companies, marketing and sales offices or distribution centers for European logistics. There are also a number of successful examples of Chinese companies that started through cooperation with local businesses. First they work together with a Dutch agent or a Dutch importer, then set up joint ventures and later on take over the joint ventures. This has proven a good way for Chinese companies to enter the European market. They can make use of the expertise of Dutch traders to enter the European market, as the European market is quite difficult in the sense that every country has its own language, culture and legal requirements, and their fiscal systems are different. So it is very beneficial for Chinese companies to seek the assistance of a European company to better understand differences between European countries.
  Holland is a country of traders. The Dutch people have been trading all over the world for centuries and are very internationally oriented. We really understand foreign markets, particularly Europe. Through the assistance of Dutch businesses, Chinese companies can really have better and quick access to the European market.
  While the Netherlands, a developed country, absorbs investment from China, a developing country, what kinds of benefits do you think Chinese investment can bring? How can Chinese companies benefit from investing in the Netherlands?
  There are some obvious benefits like creating direct employment and also indirectly since Dutch companies will supply goods and services to these Chinese investors. But I think the most important benefit is creating a strong link between the Dutch economy and the Chinese economy. Since China will be one of the fastest growing economies in the coming decade, it’s very important to have a mutual link and to be part of the growth.
  From the other side, Chinese companies can benefit a lot from investing in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has the best access to the European market. Europe’s largest port is in Rotterdam, and the Amsterdam Airport is ranked the third in Europe in terms of cargo volume. If you distribute goods through the Netherlands you can get your goods to your customers faster than through any other country. It can save your time and your money. Our tax system, including VAT system, can help reduce the cost of operation. China’s top companies have set up holding companies in the Netherlands for their international operations. There is no language barrier. Most Dutch people speak English and quite a few even speak other European languages.
  Moreover, Dutch people are very international and have a good understanding of the rest of Europe. It’s a very good point of entry to the rest of the European market. The Netherlands is not just a trading country but also has a highly developed manufacturing sector and related research and development, so there are a lot of world-class companies in the Netherlands like Philips, ASML, DSM, and Akzo-Nobel. I think Chinese companies can benefit from this by working together with them to develop new technologies. Dutch universities are doing research at a high level, which is illustrated by the substantial number of Chinese students going to the Netherlands to study and do research.
  Apart from making profits from the European market through the Netherlands, Chinese companies can also learn from the local business world. The Dutch are quite pragmatic and like to plan ahead. They like to make long-term business plans. For Chinese companies in Europe, it’s very important to think well about a structure both from the legal and fiscal points of view. They really have to think of what they want to do in Europe. So they should talk to legal advisors and fiscal advisors and discuss questions like where will I get my profits, where do I have costs, and where will I reinvest my money?
  For Chinese companies seeking investment in the Netherlands, what should they pay attention to?
  We have different cultures and different regulations. If you want to set up a company, it’s really important to invest time and money in professional consultancy for legal and fiscal issues. Legal and fiscal issues are crucial if you invest abroad. If you have professional assistance from the first stage, it can help you prevent problems later on if you want to expand.
  It’s also important to have a good business plan: How to enter Europe and to do this step by step. They should also work together with local people, regardless of which country they go to in Europe. If they start up in the Netherlands, they’ll have good cooperation with Dutch companies and people. Just like Western companies, when they go to China, they’ll rely on Chinese people. It’s the same for Chinese companies going abroad.
  What is the Dutch Government doing in China to promote the Chinese investment in the Netherlands?
  Our office is a division of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and in China we closely work together with the embassy, consulates general and branches of the Netherlands Business Support Offices in major cities.
  An important task is to provide information about regulations and opportunities through our offices and our website (www.省略). Furthermore, we are involved in activities like seminars, trade fairs and company visits to promote our country. For companies that actually want to find out whether it’s worthwhile to invest in the Netherlands, we can offer them practical assistance. We can organize a trip and show them around in the Netherlands, introducing them to legal advisors, fiscal advisors and local governments. Through our network we can even help them find offices and houses and get permits arranged. We can really facilitate the whole process. Moreover, we can bring Chinese companies into contact with Dutch companies to do matchmaking.
  What do you think about the so-called “China threat” of Chinese investment promoted by some Western observers?
  It’s an opportunity. Chinese companies will play, and in a number of cases are already playing, an important role in world trade. It’s good for our economy if these companies use the Netherlands as their operational base in Europe. Companies are moving all the time. Many Western companies also set up affiliates in other countries, and this has already been going on for many years. It’s only natural for Chinese companies to do the same thing. We never see it as a threat, because we have a very open economy. Foreign investment has often played an important role in our economy. Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people are working for foreign companies, including companies from the United States, Japan and South Korea. The Dutch enjoy working for foreign companies. Foreign companies are very welcome in our country.
  What do you think of the upcoming 10th China International Fair for Investment and Trade?
  It’s a very good initiative from your central government and local authorities and it helps to create publicity and promotion for other regions and other countries. We’re very happy to attend it.
  Last year was the first time we participated in the fair. We found that quite a few companies were really looking for information about Europe. Through our presence at the fair, we can raise our profile to show that the Netherlands is really a country to consider if you want to go to Europe.


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