The basic idea behind the program is that a group of 3-5 students familiarises themselves with the company and begins the process of exploring the Chinese market from the company's perspective: potential clients and competitors, legislation, research in the field, the labour situation etc. Cooperation will culminate in a business plan; an essential tool for success in the Chinese market. The business plan is also an important part of studies for the students, who all already have several years of job experience.
"These young and ambitious students with a working knowledge of the local business environment can provide insight that not even large sums of money can buy. The result is a business plan that the company could not compile on their own not even locally in China let alone from Finland. An alternative advantage that the Tsinghua programme could also provide would be the finding that the company should not enter the target country, which is also valuable information so the company does not have to establish this through an expensive trial and error process," states Minh Lam, Product Manager for the Tsinghua programme at Tekes.
Tsinghua is China's top ranked university and has maintained a top position in various comparisons throughout the years.
"Many of China's highest political leadership have graduated from Tsinghua, which means that program participants have the possibility of gaining a very broad network of contacts in Chinese society. When in China, it is very important to understand "guanxi" i.e. personalised networks of influence," Minh Lam continues.
Tsinghua, which is located in Beijing, has numerous research institutes. Known as "China's Silicon Valley", the ZhongQuanCun technology cluster is located right next to the university.
Tekes is already participating in similar work in China and the United States. The iLab program is a cooperative effort between Tekes and Shanghai-based Fudan University, which is helping small and medium-sized Finnish companies enter the Chinese market. The Global Access Program (GAP) between Tekes and top ranked California-based university, UCLA is doing the same in the US market. Many of the companies participating in these programs are in the technology industry, but companies from any and all fields are welcome to take part.
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Photos: Minh Lam