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Official Danish state visit to China – Royal promotion of Danish Business

By Tom Jensen, Secretary General, Danish-Chinese Business Forum.

On April 24-28 2014, HM The Queen of Denmark and HRH the Prince Consort paid an official state visit to China. The program covered visits to Beijing, Nanjing, Suzhou and Shanghai.

The importance of the visit – good relations between Denmark and China
The last time HM the Queen of Denmark visited China was in 1979, at a time when China initiated its first wave of liberalizations and adopted the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics". The visit in 1979 has not been forgotten even by the Chinese leadership today, as HM Queen Margrethe was one of the first western leaders to visit China after the 1978 reform program was initiated. This recent State Visit, 35 years after the last one, reaffirms the strong ties, which exist between Denmark and China, and deepens the strong relation between the two nations.

The good relationship between the two countries has also contributed to an increasing trade among the two. The trade between Denmark and China has increased from 300 million DKK to 107 billion DKK since the HM Queen Margrethe’s last visit to China. China has become Denmark’s biggest trading partner in Asia and the second-largest overseas destination for investment. The two countries have a good foundation for further cooperation, and both political and commercial ties between the two nations are growing stronger. China is undergoing an important period with better welfare, high-tech industrialization, an IT revolution, rapid urbanization and agricultural modernization. These are sectors where Denmark is rich on experience and technology. The visit by HM the Queen and HRH the Prince Consort will undoubtedly bring the two countries even closer, and prepare the growth for more business.

 Queen Margrethe with President Xi Jinping, 24 April. Photo: Scanpix

The details of the program
The program was built around specific focus areas within Energy and Environment, Food and Agriculture, Health and Life Science, Maritime and Innovation and Investment. The program included conferences, company visits, official activities as well as sector seminars and events.

Friday 25 April: Beijing
Friday, 25 April was reserved for the conference: “Sustainable Economic Development: Chinese-Danish Partnership for the Future”, which was the biggest conference of the State visit. The conference was opened at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, and the opening speech was held by HM Queen Margrethe, followed by a Chinese VIP and lastly the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Lidegaard. The conference focused on some of the challenges that modern society faces and how sustainable and innovative solutions can help meet these challenges. It included a series of seminars and discussions involving a large number of business representatives and politicians from both Denmark and China. The speeches were followed by a signing ceremony of several business contracts and Government Memorandums of Understanding. After the conference HM The Queen and HRH the Prince Consort hosted a reception. The reception was followed by a networking event co-sponsored by Carlsberg.

Saturday 26 April: Beijing-Nanjing
Saturday 26 April began with a visit and tour at research and development facilities of our member Novo Nordisk, as well as a visit to Arla China-Denmark Milk Technology and Cooperation Centre, before departing to Nanjing with the high-speed train. In the evening the Party Secretary of the Jiangsu Province hosted a dinner exclusively for a part of the business delegation.

Visit at Novo Nordisk in China, 26 April. Photo: Newspaq

Sunday 27 April: Nanjing-Suchou-Shanghai
Sunday 27 April was conducted in two different tracks, each with different activities and focus. The first track started the day with a conference around sustainable urbanization. The afternoon included a site visit to the Nanjing High Tech Zone followed by a business reception. In connection with this business reception HRH the Prince Consort hosted a Medal of Honour Ceremony. Two of Danish-Chinese Business Forum’s member companies, Peter N. Rasmussen, Owner of Asia Base, and Danfoss China received the Danish Export Association’s Diploma and HRH the Prince Consort’s Medal of Honour. Peter N. Rasmussen founded the consultancy company Asia Base in Suzhou back in 1994 and Asia Base helped several hundred companies into the Chinese market. For Danfoss, China is increasingly becoming an important market for growth, and the Chinese market is now the 3rd largest for the Danfoss group.

Monday 28 April: Shanghai
Monday 28 April included three different tracks of activities. The events included a conference on 1) Innovation and Investment, 2) a visit to the Danish Design Days and 3) the Green Shipbuilding Seminar.
The Innovation and Investment conference was a unique opportunity for business to learn from some of the best cases within Chinese and Danish innovation and gain insights from successful investment projects. The conference also provided a chance to network with fellow executives. CEO’s and high-level executives from the LEGO Group and Bang & Olufsen presented case stories about how innovation can lead to success in China. This was followed by selected start-up companies that presented their experiences to the audience. Leading Danish and Chinese companies such as Huawei, CSIC, Shangtex, BGI and others presented best practice in investing in Denmark and China by giving their opinion on how to create successful business and partnerships in both Denmark and China.
The Danish Design Days was hosted by the Royal Danish Consulate in Shanghai and included the participation of 16 Danish companies. Members of Danish-Chinese Business Forum were represented by ECCO, Dea Kudibal, House of Amber and LEGO.
The Green Shipbuilding Seminar was part of the focus area within the maritime sector and was arranged with the purpose of strengthening the maritime ties between Denmark and China and to underline the importance of the maritime industry for China’s future economic development. The Maritime industry in Denmark is among the world’s leading within technology and green solutions. 

Queen Margrethe in Shanghai, 28 April. Photo: Billedbladet

Visits to DCBF member companies
The Royal visit to China included visits to several member companies of Danish-Chinese Business Forum. On Saturday April 26, HM the Queen paid a visit to Novo Nordisk’s premises for investigation and development. The visit included a tour around the center. HRH the Prince Consort visited Novozymes the same day together with the Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dan Jørgensen. Novozymes had prepared a guided tour around their premises. HRH the Prince Consort also had time to visit Arla Milk Center, where new rooms for the Arla Foods Product Innovation Satellite “The Cheese Lab” were inaugurated. Thereafter the program continued to the Kopenhagen Fur Studio at the Tsinghua University. On April 27 the Royal Couple participated in a ceremony at Lego, where the Queen was to reveal the foundation for the new factory. 

Queen Margrethe opens the Danish-Chinese Partnership Conference on Sustainability in China and Denmark, Photo: scan pix

New agreements to spur future collaboration
The State Visit to China resulted in the signing of a number of Memorandums of Understanding with the aim to continue close cooperation between Denmark and China. Some were purely corporate, while others were official agreements between the Danish and the Chinese government. Several agreements involved members of Danish-Chinese Business Forum, for instance Novo Nordisk, Novozymes, Haldor Topsøe, Copenhagen Malmö Port, Bycirklen, Cowi, Kopenhagen Fur and Frederiksdal Kirsebærvin. To see the complete list of corporate agreements signed in Beijing please click here.

Sixteen official agreements were likewise signed during the visit. These cover areas such as collaboration on food security, urbanization, climate and energy. Several agreements were signed to foster and enable Danish agro and food companies to expand into the Chinese market. To view the entire list of signed agreements please click here (in Danish).

Particularly interesting is the agreement between the Chinese Confederation of Mayors and Local Government Denmark (Kommunernes Landsforening). The agreement covers areas of common interest, including housing, transport, energy, sustainable urban development and environmental protection. The collaboration includes an increased focus on research and knowledge sharing and promoting cooperation and trade between cities of both countries.

 Ms. Tao Siliang, vice-chairman of China Association of Mayors, and Danish Mayor Jens Ive during the signing ceremony. Photo: Scanpix

Conclusion on the State Visit
There is no doubt that the attention and the visibility created by HM The Queen and HRH the Prince Consort visit have opened doors and created new possibilities for deepened collaboration. A State Visit creates the necessary pressure to close new commercial as well as official agreements. The chance to promote more than 115 Danish companies and their individual competences is a unique opportunity, and the State Visit skilfully continued the tradition of mutual official visits between the two countries.  
After the visit of President Hu Jintau in Denmark in 2012 and the visit of H.M. The Queen, the level of cooperation will raise to a new and higher level to the benefit of China and Denmark.

Official meeting between the Danish delegation and Li Keqiang. Photo: scanpix

Special Issue on Economic and Trade Cooperation
On the occasion of the state visit, Danish-Chinese Business Forum has the pleasure of cooperating with International Business Daily - the official business newspaper of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce - on a publication promoting Denmark to the Chinese business community. The publication “Denmark-China Special Issue on Economic and Trade Cooperation” was published ultimo April. We are pleased to see that so many members has contributed to the publication, and made use of the possibility to increase their visibility toward Chinese companies and governmental departments. The electronic version of the publication can be accessed through the link below:
Denmark-China Special Issue on Economic and Trade Cooperation, IBD 04.2014

Other articles part of Newsletter vol. 2, 2014