Danish green solutions cleaning up in China

Denmark well placed as Asian superpower seeks knowhow to deal with its environmental challenges

A group representing the public and private sectors from the capital-area region Region Hovedstaden spent this week in China working towards the establishment of a new knowledge centre in the eastern province of Jiangsu. 

As Chinese companies look beyond their borders for know-how and technology, Chinese investment in Denmark looks set to grow in the coming years.

Using core skills
Peter Hansen, a senior partner at ChinaCabinet, a commercial agency specialising in public affairs in China, explained that the country’s central government is now actively encouraging Chinese companies to look for investment opportunities abroad. 

“It’s a way to get access to foreign knowhow and technology in sectors that are important for China’s modernisation,” he said.
Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, the head of Region Hovedstaden, highlighted soil remediation as one such area in which Danish expertise could be put to work in co-operation with the Chinese authorities. 

“One of Region Hovedstaden’s core skills should come into play here and lead to an increased export of Danish products, knowledge and competencies, while attracting Chinese companies, investment and talent to Greater Copenhagen,” she said in a press release.

Huge potential
Region Hovedstaden has already agreed to help remediate soil in the city of Wuxi. Mads Terkelsen, the research and development manager of environmental affairs for Region Hovedstaden, said there is huge potential for Danish companies in the country. “Denmark can be at the forefront of the industry,” he said.

“Region Hovedstaden working closely with a number of private companies means that the Chinese see it as one complete package, in which the region, as a public authority, validates the Danish companies.”

Cleantech and green solutions are particular areas of interest for the Chinese, according to Hansen. “China is facing massive environmental challenges and the government is under pressure do to something about it,” he explained.

More investment ahead
While 2014 was significant in terms of major Danish acquisitions by China – the two audio equipment producers Libratone and Dynaudio, as well as the water purification company Aquaporin were among those acquired – Hansen points to the fact that Chinese investment is still relatively low compared to other countries.

But as well as initiatives like Region Hovedstaden’s, active steps are being taken to encourage further investment, and Hansen predicts more big investments in the months to come. 

“To my knowledge, quite a few Danish companies are independently looking for investors in China,” he said.

“And I personally have knowledge of large Chinese enterprises exploring the Danish market for investment opportunities. But I can’t tell you which ones yet.”