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CHINA

Swedish companies lag behind in China

Swedish companies have failed to exploit the growing Chinese market, according to the Swedish Trade Council's chief executive, Ulf Berg. Exports to China are rising, but not enough.

“Other countries’ exports are rising faster. And if you’re increasing at a slower rate than the market, that means you’re not really keeping up,” said Berg.

Last year, Swedish exports to China rose to 19bn kronor and imports rose to 22bn. That makes China Sweden’s twelfth biggest trading partner. There are currently 400 Swedish companies on the ground, many of them involved in the telecoms industry.

Berg believes there should be significantly more there, including small and medium-sized enterprises. He sees potential in practically all sectors, but regards environmental technology as having particularly good prospects.

“The environment is already a problem in China and that problem will only grow with the current massive expansion.”

Berg is concerned that countries such as Germany, UK, USA and France are far more advanced in their trade with China and suspects a major reason is the geographical distance and language difficulties.

“China is huge. It’s a shame that we’re not in there competing. It’s significantly harder to enter the market later on than at the beginning.”

Berg’s advice in short is: book a ticket. Now.

TT/The Local

CHINA

Sweden’s Volvo Cars may merge with Chinese owner Geely

Sweden's Volvo Cars and its Chinese owner Geely announced on Monday that they are considering merging into a single group in order to share resources, but would preserve their separate brands.

Sweden's Volvo Cars may merge with Chinese owner Geely
File photo of a Volvo test-drive. Photo: Christine Olsson / TT

The merged firm “would have the scale, knowledge and resources to be a leader in the ongoing transformation of the automotive industry,” they said in a statement.

“The combination would preserve the distinct identity of each of the brands Volvo, Geely, Lynk & Co and Polestar,” they added.

Geely bought Volvo in 2010 from Ford which hadn't been able to turn around the Swedish automaker. But under the Chinese firm Volvo has rebounded and smashed its sales records.

Volvo sold more than 705,000 vehicles in 2019, besting the record it set in 2018 by 10 percent, and the automaker expects continued growth this year.

The statement said the firms would create a joint working group to prepare a proposal for the boards of both firms.

“A combined company would have access to the global capital market through Hong Kong and with the intention to subsequently list in Stockholm as well,” it added.

Volvo put off a share listing in 2018 due to tensions in global markets.

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