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Why test the next big thing in the small country of Denmark?

Denmark is a small innovative country with a curious, trusting and well-educated population. This makes Denmark a great test country for inventive companies.

 By Jason Lan, CEO, Huawei Denmark & member of the board of Danish-Chinese Business Forum

Imagine you could read this sentence 1,000 times faster. Such an increase in speed is difficult to comprehend and even if you try to read the sentence repeatedly, you might only just reduce the time by half.

The reason I mention this experiment is that a few months ago, Huawei and TDC tested 5G network in Copenhagen with up to 1,000 times faster speed than that of today. With 5G you will only need a few seconds to download your favorite film. Things will connect quickly, crisscrossing and into the future. The future 5G network is expected to be commercialised by 2020, and Huawei have already invested 600 million dollars in 5G. But why test the next big thing in a country like Denmark?

Denmark is a great test country
As the world becomes more and more digital, the need to develop new, tech solutions is increasing. As a network provider, Huawei needs to be in front, if we want to survive. Thus, we invest 10 percent of our turnover every year in research and development and select test countries with great care.

Denmark is often the first choice, when it comes to testing new technologies. Currently, we are rolling out Gigaspeed through Coax to more than a million households. The key word is synergies. In this small, well-functioning Nordic ecosystem, we can combine talent and knowledge from Danish companies with Huawei’s newest solutions for the future. Which would also be relevant for many other international companies.

When I talk to companies in China, I often give them five reasons to consider building their business in Denmark.

5 reasons for Chinese companies to consider expanding to Denmark

  • Denmark is home to several innovative business partners in sectors such as communications technology, shipping, food & beverage, pharmaceuticals and clean tech 
  • The infrastructure is highly developed, which makes Denmark a small, well-connected country 
  • The power distance in the country is low, which means employees are used to contributing and sharing their ideas to the benefit of all 
  • Danes are curious and trustful: The European Commission has on several occasions selected the Danish people as the most it-friendly, and Danes repeatedly score high on international surveys regarding trust 
  • The education level is high and focuses on the ability to be creative and solve problems, which makes it a good place for recruitment in general

As with all countries, there is room for improvement in Denmark when it comes to doing business. But when all is said and done, it is a great place to run a company, when you understand the Danish culture. One of the first things, which I learned in Denmark, was that Danes do business before they become friends. In China, it is often the other way around. But the core is trust. Trust is the fundamental value of doing business everywhere in the world. I have lived and worked in a handful of countries: China, Ghana, Nigeria, Sweden, Poland and Denmark. From these experiences, I have learned that trust can be built on very different foundations.

I am still learning small things about Danes every day, but for now here are my main observations.

3 observations on how to manage a company in Denmark

  • In my experience, it is normal in Chinese culture to become friends first, before you do business. In Denmark, you do business first and then become friends. 
  • Building trust is important. Trust is the core value of a good business relationship in Denmark – as well as anywhere else in the world 
  • Danes value work-life balance highly and prioritize their time and how they spend it. To recruit and keep the best talents, you need to respect the work-life balance.

Huawei is operating in Denmark in the long term
This is my second time In Denmark and Huawei is here for the long run. As one of the world’s biggest privately owned companies, I hope we can contribute to create an even stronger tie between Danish and Chinese businesses, people and cultures. This is an important reason why I have decided to enter the board of Danish-Chinese Business Forum.

In Europe alone, Huawei has more than 850 engineers in R&D, and It’s important for me that Huawei offers talents a great place to work in Denmark. The company has been here since 2007, and we are not here for only 2, 5 or 10 years more. We are here for the long term. But our success builds on talented people and the competition for IT engineers is fierce. Even though we have more than 20 different nationalities at our office in Denmark, and even though we are a global company, it can be difficult to recruit and keep specialists.

That’s also why Huawei has invested in our talent program, “Seeds for the Future”, since 2011, where talented students visit China to learn Chinese and work with the latest technologies. The program involves 77 countries in the world. In Europe alone, 27 countries participate and more than 700 students have been involved including 30 students from Denmark.

Huawei’s vision is that Denmark should be better connected. It is our ambition to be at the forefront of technologies, which make this development possible; from cloud computing to 5G. And Denmark is the perfect place to test the next big thing.

This was the "Article of the Month" from our April Newsletter, sign up for the newsletter here