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Sweden has more influence in China than we think. Dagens Opinion Interview with Adam Hofmann.

Scandhof CEO Adam Hofmann

The Swedish online news channel Dagens Opinion interviewed the Scandhof CEO Adam Hofmann on the topic of China Day as a client case. In the article, Adam answers why China is investing a lot of effort in the China Day concept and some preliminary plans for the Almedalen Summit of 2021.

The interview:

China returns to Almedalen.

In 2019, China rallied by entering Almedalen Week heavily via the Swedish-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Embassy and with the PR agency Scandhof. In 2021, the constellation, which operates under the Sino-Swedish Cooperation brand, intends to repeat the effort.

The idea was to promote China Day during Almedalen Week in 2020, but the week was cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, China Day Online was held on October 28. ( (

- We invited a few different companies from different industries to ask questions to the ambassador (Gui Congyou). We broadcasted an hour online. It turned out well. The customer was satisfied (Swedish-Chinese Chamber of Commerce). The companies that were allowed to ask questions felt a bit courted, says Adam Hofmann, who runs Scandhof.

He believes in doing several digital activities in the future.

- I think we put something good in motion here and that we can do many more of this type of digital events, maybe 3-4 activities per year outside Almedalen. We had just over 1,000 people watching live; we had the material recorded and cut and set up a website. I think we can assist Swedish companies that want to establish themselves in China and Chinese companies and investors who want to enter Sweden and Scandinavia.

Adam Hofmann operates in a political minefield. The year began with Foreign Minister Ann Linde (s), Gui Congyou taking the back road to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was scolded for threatening the Swedish media. Huawei is being ported from delivering to Swedish 5G networks. Recently, a survey from the Pew Research Center shows that Sweden is the western country with the most negative view of China. 70 per cent have a negative attitude towards China, and the proportion has increased since last year.

At the same time, exports from Sweden to China have increased by 19 per cent between 2019-2020. China has climbed from eighth to sixth place to the countries Sweden exports the most.

- Overall, China is becoming more important for Sweden simultaneously as the relationship is getting worse politically, Adam Hofmann concludes.

What do your Chinese clients think about the image given by China in Sweden?

My client and Chinese representatives in general, as ambassadors or member companies, feel unfairly described. Had I been in their position, I would have been angry. They are mostly sad about the situation.

Adam Hofmann thinks that Swedes do not realize how much influence Sweden has on China.

- That is my firm opinion. They have respect for Swedish innovation, and if Sweden played its cards better, we would have a greater influence in China. We are much more respected by the Chinese than we think.

Why are Swedes respected by China?

- It is a combination that we have historically treated China well. Chinese ambassadors usually mention that Sweden was the first country in the West to open an embassy. We have been trading with China for 300 years. We are also very innovative, and of course, China wants to be part of the technical development. Astra Zeneca is making enormous progress in China, Volvo-Geely is a fantastic collaboration, Stora Enso has factories there.

And why are Swedes so negative to China?

- A couple of months after the corona outbreak, China was back to 97 per cent capacity. Maybe it provokes?

Even though Swedes may be angry about China, several PR agencies want to help with communication, Adam Hofmann testifies.

- The Chinese Embassy, ​​the Chamber of Commerce, the member companies, certainly has a huge potential. I have seen PR agencies make approaches, agencies that are significantly larger than we are. But they may not understand the cultural barriers and do not get their foot in the door. It has taken a few years to build trust, in the long run, I think it can be very good.

For its part, Scandhof sees opportunities to develop the lessons learned from China's marketing in Almedalen. Both Estonia and the United Arab Emirates are on their way to Almedalen 2021 with the agency's help.

The most important Chinese companies in Sweden, according to Adam Hofmann

1. Geely (the collaboration with Volvo).

2. MTR (runs the metro in Stockholm and MTR Express).

3. Huawei.

4. CRTG China Railway and Tunnel Group (Expands part of Stockholm's metro).

Journalist: Rolf Van Den Brink

- Veckans Brief (The Weekly Brief)

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