Chinese market gaining clout in Denmark

Updated: 2010-08-19 15:31
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COPENHAGEN - The Chinese market is gaining clout in the global economy, and ranks only after North America in importance for Danish companies, a Danish newspaper said Wednesday.

According to a report in the Berlingske Tidende, Danish companies now expect to consolidate their position in China, the world's largest emerging market.

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Equipment giant Danfoss expects an average growth of 20-25 percent in China in 2010 and 2011. It also plans to recruit ten percent more employees, up to 3600 in 2011.

Grundfos Group is also gung-ho about its Chinese market. "In the first half of 2010, we had a sales growth in China at 40 percent which apparently exceeds our expectations. We previously expected to achieve a 20-percent growth in 2010, but everything now suggests that we can at least grow by 25 percent," Carsten Bjerg, CEO of Grundfos Group, said. The pump manufacturer also expects to open 150 new job positions by the end of this year.

Michael Hauge Sorensen, sales director of Ecco, also cherishes his company's foray into the China market. "China is our fourth largest market globally. We expect a growth of 10 percent in production in 2010. We have around 500 stores in 170 cities in China, and we expect a double digit growth of 20-25 percent for the sales," he said.

The executive vice president of Novo Nordisk is equally optimistic. "We expect sales growth of about 20 percent in China this year, which will also be reflected in the number of recruitment in China. Additionally, we will increase investment in both research, sales and marketing segments in the following years," Kare Schultz said.

According to Danish statistics authorities, Denmark's exports to China in 2009 amounted to 11.5 billion Danish krones (about $2 billion).

Though it is far less than 90 billion Danish krones in export amounts to Germany, Denmark's largest export market, Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard, a professor specializing in Chinese affairs at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), pointed out that it is meaningless to simply compare those two figures.

"It should be remembered when assessing China's importance for the Danish economy, that its significance is great and keeps increasing," he said.

The executive vice president of Chr. Hansen explained China's growing clout. "We no longer view China as a developing market, but as one of our large and mature markets. About 300 to 400 million people in China have purchasing power, thus Western companies see big opportunities there. It is a market which almost has the same size as the whole Europe market, and therefore it is obviously crucial for us," Carsten Hellmann said.