Denmark's industrial design and human resources capacities could attract Chinese investors, founder of Aigo Entrepreneurs Alliance (AEA), a club of leading Chinese entrepreneurs, said here Tuesday.
"Denmark is a design center. Design here is simple and popular," said Feng Jun, also chairman of Aigo Digital Technology, a Chinese consumer electronics firm.
"Chinese-made factory goods are reasonably priced, and their quality is getting better and better. But design is still a big headache. I think Chinese manufacturers should cooperate with designers here. They should find partners, find human resources and establish design centers," he told Xinhua at a business conference at Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
AEA helps leading Chinese enterprises build up their international brand. It has sent a delegation to tour several European countries, including Denmark, to study where to locate its EU incubator hub or headquarters.
The delegation visiting Denmark comprised some 25 business leaders representing industries as varied as shipping, finance, digital technologies, fashion and food products.
Among other activities, the delegation met with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, top local business representatives and high-ranking officials of the Danish Foreign Ministry.
Verall, delegates agreed that design and human resources collaboration between Danish and Chinese companies, could be mutually beneficial.
"We have brands and marketing, but if the design is poor, these nice products will not continuously go to consumers, and that is a problem," said Karohy Shi, chairman of Newcomer Group Co. Ltd., when referring to Chinese manufacturers' relative disadvantage in design skill.
Others thought Denmark's pool of skilled labor, and its emphasis on people-centered products, appeal to Chinese businesses.
"People here want to create things that show care for consumers. This is why I am interested in Denmark," said Sun Wanfeng, chairman and CEO of Beijing Uniocean Maritime Co. Ltd, a shipping firm.
In fact, he thought Denmark could be a place to set up a research and development unit for firms like his, to tap local design talents.
"In AEA we mainly focus on helping brands to go global. So we need highly educated people and good partners. I am very impressed with that here," said Feng from the Aigo Digital Technology, referring to Danish human resources skills.
This is music to the ears of Invest in Denmark, a unit of the foreign ministry tasked with attracting foreign investment. It also coordinated AEA's visit here.
"Leading Chinese brands have the power and possibility to invest, and Danish partner companies can contribute with our unique design tradition of developing innovative business solutions and consumer-friendly products," said Merete Juhl, director of Invest in Denmark.
"The Danish government is keen to attract high-potential investments from China, that is those with know-how, and leading brands. We believe we can establish partnerships with mutual future benefit for both parties," she said in an interview with Xinhua.
Juhl added that there is no specific industry being targeted, as Denmark believes it can contribute with design and innovation support across a range of products, from wind-turbines to services.
"We have that design DNA in our society and that's what Chinese businesses have to tap into, and then repackage it and use it in China or Europe," said Nille Juul-Soerensen, CEO of Danish Design Center, a Copenhagen-based design think-tank.
The delegates spent Tuesday evening at the Center viewing such icons of Danish design as chairs, lamps and flat-screen televisions, as well as latest lifestyle-centric designs.
"If we can deliver some of the design input, give it a little flavor, give them our work methodology, then I will be happy, because that will be jobs created here for Danish designers. And the products will be Chinese, with a slight Danish flavor," Juul-Soerensen said.
Should AEA choose to set up their EU hub in Denmark, it could have a big impact on local companies.
"We can help advertise them globally; we will give them our internal basic orders, and would like to support them in getting orders from China, and globally," Shi said.
Moreover, Feng said Denmark's relatively high wages and taxes are no deterrent to Chinese private sector investment here.
"Where the salary is high, perhaps we can create more value. We want to be high end. In the past, 'Made in China' meant low-end products. But now, AEA wants to change this image."
"We want to cooperate with the best companies, best partners and best human resources here. We will create jobs, pay tax, and jointly create new value, and share it," he added.
In fact, the AEA signed a memorandum of understanding with Invest in Denmark, a trade promotion department under the Danish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday evening, outlining their roadmap for future collaboration.
Having already visited Britain, the delegation arrived here on Monday evening and will leave early Wednesday for a travel to the Netherlands and Belgium in the coming days, to continue searching for an EU hub.
Feng expects many Chinese companies will follow and invest, once the AEA member companies take the lead to establish operations in the chosen hub. The decision on where to locate the EU incubator office will be taken by a vote of AEA members after their trip ends, he added.