China’s supply-side structural reform, priority in innovation and other efforts in economic transformation have provided foreign companies more business opportunities. UPM, a Finnish frontrunner of the new forest industry, is one of those companies betting on the promising Chinese market.

UPM staff in logging camp. Photo by Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily
UPM staff in logging camp. Photo by Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily
In the past two decades, the company has invested a total of 2 billion dollars in Chinese market.

Bernd Eikens, Executive Vice President of UPM Specialty Papers told the People’s Daily that since the company accessed to Chinese market in 1998, it has designed a long-term strategy for Chinese business.

With an emphasis on cyclic economy, resource efficiency and innovative development models, the firm will seek industrial transformation by applying high-tech into traditional industries, he added.

UPM hosted Xi Jinping, then the vice president of China, to see a forest harvest demonstration in Rovaniemi, administrative capital of Lapland province, during his Finnish trip seven years ago.

Xi’s tour in 2010 not only shows Chinese leaders’ emphasis on sustainable development, but also cements the company’s confidence in Chinese market, Eikens pointed out.

Expecting the upcoming state visit paid by Xi, now Chinese President, to Finland, Eikens believed that the economic cooperation between the two countries will embrace new chances.

As a key pillar of Finnish economy, forestry contributed 18 percent to the country’s industrial output as well as 15 percent to its job positions.

Mikko Välikangas, manager of the biofore company’s forest department, told the People’s Daily during a visit to one of company’s logging camps, that Finland plants more trees while felling them, in order to maximize their use.

The company’s logging camp, located in a flourish forest north to Helsinki, the capital and largest city of Finland, takes about one-hour drive to arrive from the capital city.

Data showed the country cut down 56 million cubic metres of trees in 2014, but it planted over 100 million cubic metres each year. Välikangas explained that the plants can grow better with intermediate cuttings.

Eikens added that the Chinese government is now accelerating its efforts to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, divert foreign capital into emerging sectors, and seek technology cooperation through foreign investment.

The country, in both supply-side structural reform and its “Thirteenth Five-Year Plan”, required stricter rules on environmental protection, he said, believing it means promising business prospect for large-sized environment-friendly paper mills.

The UPM’s business strategy in also in line with China’s goals for green development, he said, pledging that the firm will keep its commitment and provide China with renewable products in an efficient fashion.

By Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily/NewsGhana.com.gh