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Coming Events Top 10 Things When Hiring and Firing Date: 29 June 2012, 12.30-14.00 pm Location: Kee Club, 6/F, 32 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong Joint a business luncheon to find out more about what to watch out for when hiring and firing. The Danish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has invited Ms. Cynthia Chung, partner with Deacons since 2001, will share her rich experience in the field of employment related advice. The cost for Members is HKD 480 and Non-members is HDK 580 (incl. full lunch, Austrian wine, tea and water). To register, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your FREE ScandAsia Magazine in China ScandAsia is the only magazine that covers all the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish residents in China. We also publish a ScandAsia magazine in Thailand, Singapore and the rest of South East Asia.
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Summer Networking Cocktail Date: 9th August 2012 18.30-21.00 Location: Oasis Room, 8/F, Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai You cannot miss out on the annual Summer Networking Party organized by SwedCham Hong Kong and three other powerful chambers. Come and sip on a cocktail while enjoying the incredible view over the Victoria Harbour. Wind down and relax whilst making excellent business contacts. Fee for members HK$ 200 and Non members HK$300 - Please confirm your attendance by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Monday 6 August 2012
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Swedish Crayfish Party Date: 14 September 2012 Location: Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club As the summer draws to a close the Swedes gathered for the most festive annual excuse for a party – The Crayfish Party! Don’t start the party hungry. It takes about 5 minutes to dig out the equivalent of about a meatball’s worth of meat. So save the date, more information to come. Meanwhile visit the chamber’s website http://www.swedcham.com.hk
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DCCC Shanghai Welcome Back Barbecue Party
Date: Friday September 14th 2012 Location: The Rooftop Terrace at the Anken Green Building, Shanghai To continue the success last year with more than 140 attendances, DCCC Shanghai will once again host a big Welcome Back Barbecue Party on the Rooftop Terrace at the Anken Green Building. At the event people will have the opportunity to hear about the different activities in the Danish Community in Shanghai and surrounding Provinces, while networking with great food and drinks. For more information, please visit http:// www.dccc.com.cn.
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June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 5
Successful Nordic Chamber Golf Tournament
he Nordic Chamber Golf Tournament in China this year was a tremendous success in all aspects of the event. The tournament held on Saturday 11 May was opened to all nationals from Nordic countries and for all people working in member companies of the Nordic chamber’s and their guests. The tournament started with a tee off at 7.00 AM and got underway with outstanding scoring despite a bit rainy and cloudy weather. A few hours later the eager golfers were lucky to see the sun shine again and continued competing for trophy. The main event was the Nordic Chamber Team Championship, where the four best Stable ford point results from each country would form a team. Last year the Swedish Team won the “The Nordic Chamber Golf Trophy” but this year’s tournament really highlighted how competitive the Danish Team has become and the Danish Team got to go home with this year’s Trophy. For winning the tournament this year the Danish team will have their names on “The Nordic Chamber Golf Trophy”, which is proudly sponsored by Sino Scandinavian Building Adviser (SSBA). The Tournament concluded by having a BBQ at the patio, with free drinks and the awarding of various prizes to the participants. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Markus Veikkola, Peter Simson, Erik Feng, Jan Aagre Greger Esben Staerk Jorgensen, Inga Yoshida, Oddvar, Jari Koikkalainen Denmark 1 place Swedish team 2nd place Finnishteam 3th place Norwegian team 4th place
NCC Hong Kong held AGM
he Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (NCC) held its Annual General Meeting yesterday on Wednesday 25 April 2012. The following office bearers were elected or reelected for the term of 2012-2013:
Dr. Derek Anthony – Chairman (Re-elected) Mr. Kjartan Furset – Vice-Chairman (Re-elected) Mr. Sigvald Fossum – Board of Director (Re-elected) Ms. Tale Ovstebo – Board of Director (Elected – new) Mr. Stig Mathisen – Treasurer (Elected – new)
FBCS held AGM
he Finnish Business Council in Shanghai (FBCS) held its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 28 April 2012. The main issue of the AGM was a proposed change of organizational and financing structure of FBCS. The board’s proposal of the following annual membership fee structure for the 2012-13 terms was approved. Large Companies: 6000 Yuan per year. Small and Mid-sized companies: 3000 Yuan per year. Individuals: 800 Yuan per year. The 2012-13 terms will start immediately. The annual fee can be paid at the FBCS office or at any FBCS event. Members will be sent further information in April 2012. 6 ScandAsia.China • June 2012
The board’s proposal for the board of directors for the 2012-13 terms was also approved. There are some new faces in the crowd. But sadly the Chairman, TeroKosonen stepped down after three years at the helm. Thenew board of directors are listed here below. Mr. MarkkuHakala, Outotec China - Chairman Ms. Laura Vuorenrinne, L-Fashion (Suzhou) Apparel Co., Ltd. – Vice Chairlady Mr. MattiJärvinen, SKS Co., Ltd. - Treasurer Mr. Kari Anttila, Project Expeditors Ltd. Mr. JuhaIivari, Konecranes (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. Mr. PerttiSalminen, UPM Kymmene (Changshu) Paper Industry Co., Ltd. Mr. JukkaSilander, Technion (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.
Mr. Mikael Simelius, Wärtsilä China Ltd. Mr. Wangqiu Song, Stora Enso China Mr. NalleStenman, Metso (China) Investment Co., Ltd. Ms. Margit Suurnäkki, Kone Elevators Co., Ltd. Mr. Kari Virtanen, STX Europe AS Shanghai Ms. Bo Qin was appointed as secretary of the board. In a meeting held directly after the AGM, the newly elected board of directors appointed Mr. Oskar Helling as the Executive Director of FBCS in charge of representing and developing the business council. Ms. Bo Qin was appointed as Operations Manager.
Danish Church held Sucessful Spring Market
he Danish Seamen’s Church in Hong Kong organized their annual Spring Market in Mariners’ Club, Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday 12th of May. Invited by the church, companies and organizations including Danish Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong, had their booths at the market presenting their new products, samples and other collections to the Danish community and other visitors. “It is a great opportunity for you to show your company and its products,” writes the Danish church. Around 200 people visited the market and 20 booths were set up on the day. Many products such as Danish candy, cream from Beaute Pacifique, jewelries and sunglasses from Skagen Design, bowls and vases from Gazzel, jewelries from Pilgrim and many more were on sale at the market. A lot of fun activities for kids were also available. It was a day where people could meet old friends as well as welcoming new arriving Danes in the community. The Spring Market closed at 4 p.m. and companies then shared 50 percent of their revenue to the church. At the end the church made 50.000 HKD from the annual spring market. “It is definitely an event to repeat next year,” writes the church.
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June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 7
The Swedish and Danish Chambers Wine Tasting Visit
n a Saturday afternoon 14 April 2012, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce together with the Danish Chamber of Commerce in Beijing invited their members for a visit at the Dragon Seal Winery to learn more about the Chinese wine industry and some great quality wine made in China. Dragon Seal is the result of French winemaking expertise and Chinese tradition and has become award winner for its good quality at Challenge International du VIN in Bordeaux, Chardonnay du Monde in Bourgogne, Selections Mondiales in Montreal and China international wine and spirit competition. It is the third biggest winery in China. Most of their production is exported to Germany, France and Belgium. Only about 10 % of the production is white wine, a miner production is sparkling wine and the rest about 80% is red wine. Most of the white wines are exported since the Chinese consumers do not drink white wine. The original Dragon Seal Wine yard, was placed at the winery, but is now moved to Huailai Country, in the Hebei province, close to the Great Wall at Badaling, China. The Huailai County Vineyards has very good wine growing potential with its hillside slopes, sand and stone soil that gives the wine ranks a well drained soil with low organic content. The members ended the visit with a wine tasting.
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8 ScandAsia.China • June 2012
Sino-Danish Alumni Network launched at the Embassy
or the first time in China, the Danish Embassy and Sino-Danish Network gathered all Chinese alumni from Danish Universities for an event marking the beginning of the Sino-Danish Alumni Network. To mark the establishment of the Sino-Danish Alumni Network, Ambassador of Denmark Mr. Friis Arne Petersen, hosted a reception at his Residence gathering more than 40 Chinese alumni that took place on Wednesday 25 April 2012. The purpose of Sino-Danish Alumni Network is to develop and maintain a national platform for Chinese people in China and in Denmark, who have education experience from a Danish university. Participants included representatives from five Danish universities, the Danish companies Maersk, Novo Nordisk, NNE Pharmaplan, Carlsberg, Lundbeck and Novozymes, Danish Director for the Sino Danish Center for Education and Research Hans Gregersen and Head of the Danish Cultural Institute Eric Messerschmidt. The Alumni Network is part of the broader Sino-Danish Network which promotes Denmark and Danish study and career opportunities to Chinese students and talents. Read more and sign up at http://www.sinodanishnetwork.com/
DCCC Gained Insight on Chinese Media B a g s væ r d k o s t s k o l e gymnasium tid til talent
he Danish Chamber of Commerce Shanghai hosted an event with the title ‘Inside Chinese Media – Get under the dragon’s tongue’ at the Longemont Hotel on Thursday 24th of May 2012. Speakers were the Hong Kong based award-winning journalist and book author George Chen and Hong Bing, Associate Professor at Journalism School of Fudan University in Shanghai. George Chen is Editor, Financial Services at South China Morning Post. Before joining this position he worked many years for Reuters and Dow Jones. In his presentation he focused on how foreign media covers China and which sources they have access to. Hong Bing, who has been teaching at Fudan University since 1994, gave a very interesting presentation about how the rise of blogging in China has changed and will continue to change the ways stories are developed in China and its power to raise awareness on particular issues so that they end up in the established press and even trigger actions by authorities. The presentations by 2 speakers were followed by question and answer session where many people actively participated. No doubt that a lot of the participants got a new insight into the changing landscape of China’s media. As professor Hong Bing said during his presentation, rewriting an old Chinese proverb to describe weibo - “Get together and watch, and that changes China”.
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June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 9
ScandAsia News Brief
Danish Minister Rejects DTA Deal with Hong Kong
he Tax Minister of Denmark has rejected the Hong Kong Danish Chambers of Commerce’s (DCC) proposal for a Double Taxation Agreement between Denmark and Hong Kong. Minister, Thor Moger Pedersen on 19 March 2012. “When companies from Hong Kong consider to invest in Europe it is crucial that the country they are seeking to invest in has a DTA deal with Hong Kong,” wrote Frank Jensen, DCC Chairman in his letter to the Danish Minister. The tax minister explains that he rejected the proposal, because Hong Kong today does not tax income from Denmark. Denmark, however, taxes the Danish citizen on his or her income earned in Hong Kong, but the tax paid in Hong Kong can be deducted, he explained.
Finnish Marimekko Opens Hong Kong Store
innish Marimekko has entered the Chinese market and celebrated the opening of the first Marimekko store in Hong Kong last week. The first Marimekko store in China is only the beginning for the Finnish brand. The plan is to open up many stores in the highly populated country. “The next store will be opened in Shanghai as soon as suitable store premises are found, and the intention is to open 13 more Marimekko stores in China by the end of 2016,” says Mika Ihamuotila, President and CEO of Marimekko. The Marimekko store in Hong Kong is located in Causeway Bay.
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10 ScandAsia.China • June 2012
Norway Exporting Cattle to China and Russia
orwegian cattle known as Norsk rødt fe have become a popular export item as both China and Russia have been emerging as interesting export markets. Commercial firms like Geno Global are looking in export to both China and Russia, two of the world’s largest markets for dairy cattle. Norwegian development agency Innovation Norway has granted around NOK 1 million to the company, with Agriculture Minister Lars Peder Brekk claiming it has “great competence” within breeding and biotechnology. “This will help Norwegian dairy ranchers,” Brekk told ANB, referring to the sale of sperm from the reddish-brown cattle. The export of genes from the Norsk rødt fe dairy cattle is increasing annually, reports news bureau ANB.
Swedish Tuition Fee Makes Chinese Students Stay Away NB. INTERNATIONAL EXAM CAMBRIDGE IGCSE, 8TH GRADE AND 9TH GRADE
– en dansk skole med globalt udsyn HERLUFSHOLM er en traditionsrig dansk
ast year a tuition fee for non-European students was introduced to Swedish universities. The new fee has led to a dramatic drop in the number of Chinese students studying in Sweden. On average the Swedish universities have seen a drop of enrollments by 33 percent from foreign students, which will have an impact on the Swedish schools. “The drop is going to affect different schools in different ways. Those with a large drop will likely have to make adjustments. In some cases that may mean cutting back certain programmes” Torbjorn Lindqvist of the Swedish Agency told thelocal.se. Despite the drop, Lindqvist added that foreign students still accounted for 21 percent of new enrollments at Swedish universities in 2011.
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June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 11
12 ScandAsia.China â€˘ June 2012
hai Superman Norwegian Geir Sviggum has a flying career with the Norwegian Law firm Wikborg Rein. Only 35 years old, Sviggum has been a partner at the firm for the last two years and he now runs the Shanghai office. A competitive gene and hard work has led him to the top. By Dennis Krog
eir Sviggum is not a person who takes breaks – yes, holidays of course, but besides that his whole life has been one big competition, trying to make it to the top, a top he reached in 2010, when he at the very young age of 33 became partner at Wikborg Rein. He had then already been the boss of the company’s Shanghai office for two years. “Yes, I guess I have had a quick career,” says Geir Sviggum, when he is forced to look back at his life, something he hasn’t done much, looking back that is. We meet the Norwegian in the offices of Wikborg Rein, the largest Scandinavian law firm in Asia. On the 19th floor of the Hong Kong New World tower office building in Shanghai, Geir Sviggum is working out of his corner office. He is alone this afternoon as everybody else is enjoying a national holiday, but for Geir Sviggum this national holiday is reserved for work.
Competing all his life Geir Sviggum grew up in the small city of Horten in Norway, where he lived together with his mother as well as a sister and a brother, and already as a young boy the Norwegian showed that he wanted to move forward in life. Having been extremely active in sports growing up, he became part of the Norwegian full contact karate team in his late teens. “I guess it is fair to say I am competitive and restless in nature. I believe I started walking at a rather young age,” smiles Geir Sviggum who still is active in sports, still doing martial arts and running amongst other things. A lot of the competing was against his brother and that brotherly feud even came to a test in North Korea where his brother came along with Geir Sviggum and his wife.
”In North Korea we stayed at a 200 meter high hotel. At 8pm the guards locked us in at the hotel. We asked if we could run the stairs. They had to ask their bosses, but at the end the run up the stairs was allowed. The guards couldn’t believe it as they watched two stupid foreigners running up the stairs,” Sviggum laughs. While Geir Sviggum has never stopped competing, time in his youth was divided between school and sports, and after finishing the military, where he was an officer in the King’s Guard, Geir Sviggum moved to Bergen where he studied law.
The Quick Steps at Wikborg Rein In 2003 Geir Sviggum finished law school and at the same time started working for Wikborg Rein in Bergen. “The four biggest law firms in Norway are somewhat similar - domestically, but I started in Wikborg Rein because their international activities and presence is unique. I never knew if I would get to work abroad, but I wanted to have the opportunity,” says Sviggum. In 2008 Sviggum accepted the challenge of moving to Shanghai and in December 2009 he was appointed partner at the firm. The firm’s Shanghai office, which previously mainly assisted Scandinavian companies in opening up businesses in China, has developed into an award-winning international practice with a large international portfolio. Wikborg Rein was ranked by Asian Legal Business (ALB) among Asia’s 30 fastest growing law firms in 2010 and was honored by the prestigious Lloyds’ List Maritime Law Firm of the Year award in 2011. “For me personally; I am the legal representative of the firm in China, which means that I am the responsible figurehead towards Chinese authorities. I have the ex-
ternal responsibility and I have the internal administrative responsibility. I further normally engage heavily in the office’s bigger cases,” says Geir Sviggum explaining his role in the company. In addition to the prices awarded to Wikborg Rein over the past few years, Geir Sviggum personally ended up on a prestigious list in 2011.
Most influential Lawyers in Asia Every year Asian Legal Business (ALB) makes a ranking of the 100 most influential lawyers in Asia, and in 2011 a somewhat surprised Geir Sviggum was the first Scandinavian to figure on the Asian Legal Business ‘Hot 100 list’. “At the time I had never heard about the ranking, but I was happy to end up in the leader’s category, which only has 20 people on the list. The ranking has given a lot of attention, and in China awards are important. Such awards add to the firm’s already strong credibility in Asia,” says Geir Sviggum. But even though it seems like Geir Sviggum is already on the top of the mountain at Wikborg Rein, Sviggum denies being out of challenges in the Norwegian company. “In some businesses, you are over the top when you are 35 years old. That is not the case for the legal business. Our heaviest partners are in their 50s and 60s, and among the other partners I am still a junior. I am still learning every day. I will lose my enthusiasm if I am not learning, but I don’t see that happening within this firm or in this business,” says Geir Sviggum and adds: “I don’t see any reason to go to another law firm. I am proud to be part of this unique Norwegian success story. If I was to do something else it would be in a total different business, and I have no agenda in that way, I am just fine where I am.” June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 13
Public Relations Success in China Swedish born Johan Björkstén is one of the most successful leaders in the Public Relations Industry in China. But the road there was not easy. First he graduated in chemistry and mathematics from Beijing University. Then he tried some unsuccessful business start-ups. When he eventually got famous it was as a radio and TV host. That finally lead him into Public Relations. By Alexandra Leyton Espinoza
14 ScandAsia.China • June 2012
adio and TV presenter, author and a pioneer in the public relations industry in China. Spending half of his life in the Middle kingdom, Swedish born Johan Björkstén has indeed a tale to tell. “Chinese people today have a confidence that did not exist twenty years ago. Back then people almost apologized for being Chinese, they felt poor and miserable. Today, the country has changed enormously, modern sky scrapers are just on the outside. The biggest change is among the people,” he said.
Chopsticks trick Johan Björkstén’s interaction with the Chinese culture started at an early age, his father used to take his family to the local Chinese restaurant and by the age of seven, the young Björkstén could already eat with Chinese chopsticks, unusual among his peers. “I use to brag about my skills for friends and already then thought Chinese food was delicious and China exciting,” he says. His interest in languages made an old friend give him the advice to study the biggest spoken language of them all, mandarin, but first he studied Russian at the Swedish Army’s Translators School during mandatory military service after high school. “It was very hard, I had to learn about 40 pages of grammar and 400
new words a week and I was constantly on the verge of getting kicked out. I was super stressed out,” he says.
Studying Chinese To prepare for his Chinese studies at University, Björkstén got handed a 80 page booklet, all filled with Chinese characters. “I just looked at the paper and thought this was impossible. But I was told I had two weeks to study, so I thought ‘this might be possible, it’s about twice what we had per week in the army’. I passed the test just to realize that it was just the first pages that were covered in the exam. I had actually learned the whole first semester’s Chinese in those two weeks,” he says laughing. His professor took mercy on him and gave Björkstén an internship position at the Swedish embassy in Beijing, working for a diplomat who wanted to have lessons every morning before he went to work. “He turned out to not be the most dedicated student so for me it was heaven. I had my own room payed for, a private chef and plenty of time to study Chinese, “ he says. He went back- and forth to Sweden to study Chemistry and Beijing University to study Chem-
istry and Mathematics in Chinese, as the only foreigner at Beijing University Science faculty. “It was fantastic, from day one I choose actively to spend time with Chinese people even if it was harder to meet people in a more regular manner. They either wanted to exchange currency or too afraid to talk to you because they weren’t allowed. It was hard being a foreigner and not ending up in a western hub but I forced myself,” he says.
The entrepreneur After a masters in Chemistry, Björkstén decided to start a business with mini golf courses in China. The plan was simple 1, 3 billion people spending 1 Yuan each for each round would make Björkstén super rich in no time. “But I hadn’t done my calculations correctly and since each round took six minutes I ended up earning about 100 Yuan a day. When I raised the price, nobody came to play. It was no big hit,” he says with a smile. His next plan was to start up his own record company. If Richard Branson had succeeded why couldn’t he. “We lost more than we earned, piracy and censorship made it difficult,” Björkstén comments on that attempt.
Radio DJ During this time Björkstén was a Dj in his free time and got in contact with a Chinese channel interested in his project. Together with an independent record studio in Sweden he started sending the first ever music show on the radio in China, Travels to the north, that became a sensation. “I remember when one of our listeners sent us a letter being glad to know that Pink Floyd wasn’t a 90s band. He wrote: “I thought it was a modern band because during the 70s China was closed and now that I know when I went to Hong Kong I got his old records” he says. Sky high listening figures made a TV Channel suggesting him to present what was then equivalent to western MTV. “For the first time Chinese youngsters had access to Madonna and Michael Jackson music videos. Because television was more conservative we could still be more tough on the radio.” For three years Björkstén lived, what he recalls, the MTV lifestyle. People recognized him on the streets, he abroad to cover MTV music awards and he went partying six nights a week. “Everything was possible, you could feel it in the ambiance that a lot of things were going on. At the same there were a lot of industries
under development in China, one being the PR industry. ”
Helped with PR In hand with Björkstén’s flair for arranging events, he got contacted by Electrolux and Omega to help them with some PR and other projects. “We took care of their media relations and realized there was a demand for these services .” During the same time he also became one of the co-founders of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and got in contact with IKEA, then newly established in Shanghai. “They wondered how media relations worked in China, for the opening they had invited 40 journalist, ten showed up and three wrote. And they wanted us to help them understand why.” The reason was quite simple, journalists hadn’t understood the concept, IKEA needed to be more specific in their message. With the success that followed helping IKEA with their launching in Beijing, companies started to ask for his services and in 1997 he set up his company, Eastwei. “For the first three months we worked in a 20 square meter big office, ate 3 yuan baozi for lunch and I slept under my desk. We decided to sell our share on our record label, the mini golf business and concentrate mainly on PR.”
A unique combination
Eastwei acquired by MSL
The company started to look into what companies experienced as a problem working with different PR agencies and how problems could be solved. They came up with two different results. PR companies used both local Chinese and western agencies. The Chinese agencies were cheaper, faster, had a better service but showed lack of strategic thinking. The big western PR agencies on the other hand were very strategic but not always adapted to he Chinese market, expensive and didn’t deliver as good results. “We saw an opportunity to find something that would make us unique. This meant we had to understand our client’s business idea as well we had to understand Chinese media. Chinese media is changing, guanxi can make your product being published once or twice. But journalists are getting more professional and know there is no value in those articles and consumers notice more and more if it’s just commercial.” “Many measured success by how much coverage their product got, we realized we wanted a longterm strategy for our clients. We decided to work from a grass-root level which meant sending our employees to do internships at their companies. So they gained knowledge which communication strategy worked best for our clients,” he says.
In 2010 Eastwei made a major transition and was acquired by MSL Group and last year merged with MSL China becoming China’s leading strategic PR agency with Björkstén as Chairman of the joint operations. He believes the reason for his success has been by creating a corporate culture that have maintained not only its clients but also its employees. “If your clients know that you have employees that are loyal to you, they understand you are experienced by creating stability in your company, you gain trust, he says. According to Björkstén, the companies unique role today is to gather Western ideas and put them in a Chinese context, where Björkstén’s mission is to be a bridge builder. And in five years time his goal is to work almost exclusively as an advisor for companies in the field.
Married to China His Chinese experience turned out successfully, and he is not leaving any time soon. “China for me is like a wife: I choose her, she chose me. She welcomed me and I have gotten to know her and gain a deep relationship with her. I am happy and thankful to have been welcomed and been a part of this fantastic development. June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 15
Lotte Norgreen â€“ Lotte Norgreen has lived 14 years in Shanghai, managing a life with a husband, three kids and a successful working career. Now the 43 year old Dane is changing pace, pushing down the throttle by starting her own company. By Dennis Krog
We have three children, so I had enough to do. The years we had back then were amazing. We had so much fun travelling around Asia with the entire family.
16 ScandAsia.China â€˘ June 2012
Risking It All “I
am doing this on my own, except that I have nearly emptied our bank account, so in that way you can say that my family is in on it,” says Lotte Norgreen while laughing and showing a smile that never seems to leave her doing the interview. The close to empty bank account is the result of Lotte Norgreen starting a new company after working with Danish Dantherm Air Handling for ten years in Suzhou, but the story of Lotte Norgreen and Shanghai is a long one, dating back to 1998.
Room for family and work Lotte Norgreen and her husband Michael had at the time been married for six years already and had three children, Andreas, Caroline and newborn Sofie. Moving to China was not Lotte’s first choice. She would rather have moved to the United States, where she could build one her chemical engineer degree. But China was the place where Novo Nordisk asked Michael to work. “I wasn’t jumping up and down in the living room with the prospects of moving to China. I simply had no idea what I was going to do here,” says Lotte Norgreen, who had just given birth to Sofie. Lotte decided to be a housewife for the first three years the family stayed in Tianjin, close to Beijing.. “We had three children, so I had enough to do. The years we had back then were amazing. We had so much fun travelling around Asia with the entire family,” says Lotte Norgreen. Initially the family planned on
staying in China for a couple of years, but that plan is now long gone, and as the children got a bid older, Lotte wanted to go back to working.
Quit her job every week When Lotte Norgreen wanted to start working again it wasn’t difficult for her to find a job, as her degree in chemical engineering and her previous work with Kuwait Petroleum opened a lot of doors. In the end Lotte Norgreen got persuaded by Dantherm to start working for them, a company her husband also was working for at that time. Lotte Norgreen loved working at Dantherm, even though the start was difficult, working along with her husband. “The biggest challenge was getting my own husband as a boss. It was sometimes hell on earth for both of us. I can’t recall how many times I quit that job in the beginning. In the end Michael asked if I could quit in writing,” Lotte says while breaking out in laughter. In spite of the difficulties in the beginning, the couple found a way of working together, and although Michael now works with Siemens Windpower, Lotte stayed with Dantherm for almost ten years, managing a lot of working hours as well as a busy schedule outside work.
Huge part of the Danish community Besides having a busy schedule at work, Lotte Norgreen has for many years been the Chairman of the Danish House in Shanghai and a member of the board at the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
“My engagement in the Danish Chamber of Commerce is very business orientated. I often assist Danish companies with information about how to open up businesses in China,” says Lotte Norgreen. The role as chairman at the Danish House had a much more social aspect for Lotte Norgreen, and teaching her kids Danish values was a huge part of the reason for her engagement at the Danish House. “At the Danish house the kids would play in the mud and interact with each other. We would organize Fastelavn parties and other activities. We are good at teaching our kids to interact with each other in Denmark, and I didn’t want my children to miss out on that,” says Lotte Norgreen. And although Lotte Norgreen has a busy schedule, missing out on her kids has never been an issue. As the kids where young, the hours after they were put to bed were often spend working, so that the hours where they were awake were spend together. “I can honestly say that in all the years we have been here, my husband and I have never missed a parent meeting a concert at school, an art show or any of the trips arranged by the school, and we have proudly presented Danish food, when our kids were asked to bring Danish specialties at school parties,” says Lotte Norgreen. Now the kids have gotten older, Andreas is studying in the United States and the two teenage daughters seem to have other plans after school than hanging out with their mother. “I have tried to wait at home
for them, when they have finished school, but nowadays they throw their bag in their room and within a minute they are out the door again,” Lotte Norgreen laughs. But with more time on her hands, Lotte Norgreen in 2011 decided that it’s time for the big risk.
Own company and stomachache Together with a couple of investors Lotte Norgreen decided to open up the company Vikinor. The company uses the newest technologies within industrial cooling; technologies that are not used in the market today. Her background in the cooling industry had given her a good steppingstone into the new type of products they are working with in the company. Still, Lotte Norgreen feels she has jumped into the deep end of the pool. “I feel it in my stomach, but it is a good feeling. It is nearly our entire savings we can lose, but at the same time that kind of risk makes you so focused on the task in front of you, and I think we are approaching this correctly.” After more than a year there are no signs that the investment is to fail. The interest for the Vikinor products is present and the company is doing its best to keep up, says Lotte Norgreen. “We have now moved to the new factory in Suzhou, - products are shipped to customers and by end of this year we hope to have at least 50 employees working for us!”
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June 2012 • ScandAsia.China 17
By Gregers Moller n my mind stewed rhubarb - rabarbergrød - is the essence of an early summer dinner on the terrace. It is also quite easy to make and if there is anything left it tastes great with plain yoghurt the morning after.
INGREDIENTS • 1 pound fresh rhubarb • 4 deciliter water • About 175 sugar • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch or 4 spoons potato flour • Vanilla sugar • Full cream fresh milk
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PROCEDURE • Wash and cut the fresh rhubarb into small pieces. Cook in the water until soft and mushy - probably for about half an hour. If you don’t like the texture – I love it – you can put the mixture through a sieve. Sweeten to taste – it should be distinctly both sweet and sour. • Blend the cornstarch or the potato flour with a little cold water and stir gently into the pudding. Cook until clear and slightly thickened. • Served cold or at room temperature with ice cold fresh milk. Or with vanilla ice cream. I was once a guest in a home in Copenhagen where they served a variation. They made a sauce of whipped cream with an egg yolk folded into it. Then they beat the thickened pudding into the cream mixture and served it at once lukewarm. They also added a dash of cinnamon and sprinkled a few ground nuts over it. That was sophisticated – but the basic version is what I dream of when I miss early summer in Denmark.
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