Xiaotian Zhang: “Be A Player with Superpower – Business and Education Cooperation between Estonia and China”

Mart Veliste: Kokkuvõte Ziaotian Zhangi loengust

Teisipäeval, 21. veebruaril käis Rahvusvaheliste Suhete Ringile loengut pidamas TÜ majandusteaduskonna doktorant Xiaotian Zhang, kes rääkis teemal “Be A Player with Superpower – Business and Education Cooperation between Estonia and China”. Konspekt on inglise keeles.

China has increased import with many European countries. Angela Merkel searched for support for the rescue funds. China starts looking for more ways to help Europe. The governor of China says he is confident in euro.

Why China? China is seen as a solution to problems. We should internationalize more into China to get benefits. Currently we have about 4 million visitors from China per year –that should be a bigger number! American century was the 20th – Asian century is the 21st. Increase in world GDP, biggest growth has been in Asia. Economic crisis has given China an excellent opportunity to improve economic connections. 1/3 of the world’s reserves are in Asia. China is the nr 1 country with reserves. China is becoming the biggest car market. Oil and other natural resources needs are increasing. China is becoming an important foreign importer. 174 countries have Chinese firms. China is transforming from industrial to innovational country.

Higher Education Cooperation There are 2500 universities in China and about 20 million university students. It is the world’s biggest education market. In 2020 – over 1million students will go abroad. It officially started in 2003 with the nr 1 university in China. But then It had some setbacks and started again in 2009, when Xiaotian joined the team. Tartu is actually quite late. The cooperation should have started earlier. Currently UT has ten partners in Bejing and Shanghai.

How? Face to face the contact is needed.We have to build up trust and be very diplomatic. The progress would be that Estonian delegation visits China. There are also summer school programs for Chinese students in Estonia (75). This year came 100 students. It is a good profit for Estonia. Student Exchange, staff visiting Exchange, double degree program (one here, one there), joint research program, UT Enter/Representative Office. Sino-Estonian institute to build Estonian centre, was cancelled due to Dalai Lama. New visit of Estonian delegation is in April. There are 2 sensitive things: Taiwan and Tibet. If you want cooperation you can´t mention them, accept them as a part of China. Communication gaps are also problems. Information, like frees scholarships, hasn´t spread out. National level agreements – not recognizing each others diplomas. Long term view: Estonian university in China but Estonian universities are afraid. “Too big of a market.” Huge benefit possibilities though.

Business Cooperation 100 million export to China, 200 million import from China to Estonia. It has increased 100 times since 1991. As 30th of June, according to Bank of Estonia, Chinese direct investments were 7,9 mln euro. At the same time Estonia’ s direct investments were 0.48mln Euros. Estonian highway projects. Cooperation between Chinese Ningbo port and Tallin port, first investment of 220 million USD. 15min fast-train project – to Finland, Berlin etc. The Money is there (China investment), but Estonian government still needs to decide. Tallinn port has excellent positioning + no ice in winter. Plans of establishing direct flights between China and Estonia, to build a bigger airport in Tallinn. China might want to buy Baltic airlines. Cooperation with Finland and Sweden. Business with China should be done together. Currently there are 50 000 fins in China. China purchased Swedish eco-city.

Main barriers for Estonia 1. Language barrier. Solution – combine both human resources together. Build up the early communication via professional Chinese assosiations and agencies. 2. Where is Estonia? Trust is most important. If they don´t know where you are… „Sell Estonia first, business comes second“ Doing business with China via governmental recommendations (embassy, EAS, etc). Using famous references (Skype) and learn to title yourself (Baltic Silicon Valley). Invite them to come here. Go together with Finland and Sweden (BENCH project) – they see we have the same level. 3. Disadvantages in economy and market size. Choose one city or one province, instead of all of China. Example: Jiangsu Province. Choose the advanced field to enter China or attract Chinese tourists. Good products are not sold to China, instead to Finland and Russia. 4. Correct understanding of Chinese business culture

To sum up, Estonia has good location, high-tech workforce, good environment, high education but low cost labor force, easy to establish companies, low taxes.

Konspekteeris Mart Veliste