Europe Opens Gateway for SMEs in China

Ekaterina Volozova

Beijing, October 14, 2010, M4Media— The Enterprise Europe Network has opened 15 contact points in China and South Korea, and plans to open several points in Japan in the future, the European Commission said in a press release on October 13th.

The announcement was made at the third annual conference of the European Enterprise Network, which was originally launched by the European Commission to encourage competitiveness in European businesses. “European small businesses drive growth and create jobs. As markets become global, an increasing share of SMEs will turn their ideas and energy into exports outside their own countries or the EU,” said EU Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani. He explained that since competition from countries outside the EU became more intense as a result of the financial crisis, it was necessary to open markets and have fair competition in order to be competitive, reported the Global Times.

The Europe Enterprise Network currently offers practical support and advice to more than two million European small businesses, and helps them to grasp international opportunities and start exporting. With the new contact points, they can continue to develop export in China and Korea.

Ten of the mentioned contact points are in China, mostly in large cities, where much of the trade is conducted. These include major cities such as Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Xiamen.

The Chinese market is very attractive to the European Small and Medium Enterprises for many reasons. Competitiveness and internationalization are two key aspects when it comes to helping companies, especially in the current state of financial crisis, according to euroalert.net.

The European Commission gave an example of a Swedish chocolate company in the press release. When the firm wanted to expand into China, they could call the company headquarters in Wuhan, and together they were able to find the right partner to distribute and promote its brand. Currently, the company is setting up a sales office in China.

Jacques de Boisseson, President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said that “the business environment in China has a lot of advantages which make manufacturing in China very competitive compared to having it in other countries,” reported the Insurance Journal. According to the European Chamber Business Confidence Survey, European businesses as a whole are very optimistic about their performance in China, reported chinaCSR.com. Their optimistic views are mainly based on the continuing strength of China’s economic development and the resulting growth in domestic consumption.

The Enterprise Europe Network spans through 47 different countries, and includes the EU Member States and candidate countries, the US, Russia, China, Mexico and South Korea. The network is placed in a way that it can help Small and Medium enterprise outside of the European Union. Services in the area are delivered with the help of 589 specialist business and technology organizations with 3,000 expert staff members. As well as this, the network provides information on EU funding and legislation, and offers advice on how to develop innovative areas, thus helping companies increase chances of success when applying for funding, according to the press release.

An opportunity such as this one is excellent for Small and Medium Enterprises in Europe, many of which suffered greatly during the economic recession. Since China was one of the areas in the world that was least affected by the economic crisis, the chance to further develop business and trade in this region is exceptional. It is also healthy for future China-Europe relations by developing a strategic economic bond that gives new opportunities for future growth, and strengthening international ties between the countries. Generally, expanding the export market to the East could help Europe to gradually exit the economic recession.

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