Sweden may not be the most populous of nations, with just 9.8 million people. But the country that brought us the the Nobel Prize for science has given birth to a disproportionately high number of tech giants. Skype, the Internet calling service bought by Mcirosoft, digital music service Spotify, popular mobile game Candy Crush and Minecraft developers King and Mojang, are all Swedish entities.
So its no surprise that Sweden is a popular destination for Chinese companies and investors hungrily scouring the world for cutting-edge technologies that can be commercialized in China, the world’s second largest economy and largest consumer market. And according to one high-level Swedish minster: Chinese investments are more than welcome in Sweden.
Watch A Video Of Mr. Damberg Speaking To China Money Network
“We can see that the investments in Europe are increasing from China, but I would like to see even more investments in Sweden,” Mr. Mikael Damberg, Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Sweden, told China Money Network on the sidelines of the Summer Davos held in Dalian last week. “The (Swedish) Prime Minister, myself and the Ministry of Environment are here together, pushing for innovations in the ‘green economy’.”
Chinese investors have been active in Sweden. The world’s largest consumer drone maker, Shenzhen-based DJI, last year took a minority stake in Swedish camera company Victor Hasselblad AB to cooperate on producing high-end camera drones. Chinese online travel giant Ctrip.com was reportedly considering a bid to buy Swedish peer Etraveli a couple of months ago. On a more micro level, renowned design and architecture studio, Stockholm-based Claesson Koivisto Rune, works with Chinese furniture start-up company Zaozuo to produce sleek and modern furniture for sophisticated Chinese consumers.
The success of Swedish carmaker Volvo under the ownership of Chinese automobile company Geely has helped greatly to ease anxiety toward Chinese investments into Swedish companies, Mr. Damberg said. Geely’s acquisition of “the most Swedish of Swedish brands” has been a tremendous journey that ended up with expanded production to record levels and enlarged investments in both Sweden and China. “This has been a good example of Chinese investments in Sweden,” he added.
In terms of industries where Swedish technology would best help China, Mr. Damberg believes transportation, energy and pharmaceuticals make the most sense. There are many electric car start-ups in Sweden with cutting-edge technology that could help Chinese automakers and other transportation firms go green.
ABB Group, the Swedish-Swiss multinational corporation operating in the robotics, power and automation sectors, has been providing technology to connect wind parks in central China to coastal areas and major cities. Many Swedish companies have the best technology for transferring and storing renewable energy on a large scale, critical for Chinese cities eager to clean up their polluted skies.
Regarding the fact that Chinese deals are not welcomed everywhere, Mr. Damberg said Sweden is open for business. “Sweden is very open for trade and investment. We’ve always been so, and we’re free traders,” he commented. “We’re looking for more long-term engagement and development, rather than looking at what (red) flags there are.”
That’s an attractive incentive for Chinese investors, as some deals involving China have been blocked by U.S. regulators due to national security concerns. A notable victims of such policies was a Chinese investment fund’s proposed acquisition of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron last year.
There are also concerns that the U.S. government might tighten oversight of Chinese acquisitions of American tech companies to protect sensitive technologies vital to its national security.