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1 TO: PROVINCE OF FLEVOLAND ADDED VALUE OF CHINA TRADE MISSIONS FLEVOLAND A RESEARCH ON THE ADDED VALUE OF TRADE MISSIONS TO CHINA FOR BUSINESSES AND INSTITUTES ORGANIZED BY THE PROVINCE OF FLEVOLAND International Top Talent October 2010

2 A research on the added value of trade missions to China for businesses and institutes organized by the Province of Flevoland Copyright 2010 International Top Talent 2 November 2010 International Top Talent (ITT) is an international consultancy focused on strengthening the exchange of knowledge between China and the Netherlands. Besides the recruitment and selection of Chinese knowledge workers and researchers for Dutch companies and knowledge institutions, ITT runs the project management of initiatives that arise at the intersection of China and the Netherlands. ITT has an extensive network in both countries and has extensive contacts within industry and universities. Precisely these networks give ITT optimal insight into interesting and innovative cooperation opportunities between China and the Netherlands. ITT is present in Amsterdam and Shanghai. International Top Talent - October and November Page 1

3 CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY...3 GOALS AND OUTCOMES TRADE MISSIONS FLEVOLAND Overview participants in the trade missions Goals participants in trade missions are mostly threefold Successful outcomes of trade missions for participants Important role for governmental parties in trade missions...9 ANNEX 1 DELEGATES AND RESPONSE RATES FOUR TRADE MISSIONS...10 ANNEX 2 QUESTIONNAIRE RESEARCH...15 International Top Talent - October and November Page 2

4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY International Top Talent The Province of Flevoland has organized four trade missions to China in respectively 2005, 2007, May 2010 and September 2010 and now wants to have a clear understanding of the added value of the trade missions to China for businesses and institutes that participated. This report provides insights in the effects of the trade missions to China for the participants in perspective of their goals and the added value given by the Province of Flevoland in organizing the trade missions. This research consists of four different parts: An overview of the participants characteristics, including personal details (gender, age) and China experiences An investigation of the goals of the participants and the results they wanted to obtain by participating in the trade missions An investigation of the outcome and results of the trade missions for the participants An investigation of the added value of the government in organizing trade missions as indicated by the participants In its study, International Top Talent has undertaken the following steps: Conduct a questionnaire to all the participants of the trade missions Execute personal in dept interviews to a number of participants Ask feedback on the specific goals to participate in the trade mission before departure to China (participants of trade mission in September 2010) In total 43 companies or institutes participated in the four different trade missions, of which 38 could be approached for a questionnaire. The response rate of the participants has been 61%. In sum In sum, it can be concluded that participants get positive outcomes of the trade missions. The majority of the respondents give the trade missions an overall score of 8 and higher. Participants have successfully increased their Chinese business contacts, seen obvious turnover, exchanged information among fellow participants and established concrete academic cooperation. With respect to turnover effects, the overall indicated turnover increase is almost 3 Mio Euro, with an average turnover effect of 300,000 Euro per positive respondent in the trade missions, based on the 61% response rate. The research also shows a positive result of extra job positions resulted from starting business with Chinese companies at the trade mission. An increase of 20 to 30 job positions is indicated. The added value of the Province and co-organizing governmental parties, and in particular the attendance of the Queen s Commissioner was high, as this opened doors which would otherwise have been closed. Matchmaking and seminars have been positively contributing to the overall outcomes. Overview participants In general the trade missions are joined by different types of participants, of which production companies (26%), consultancy firms (17%) and research/knowledge institutes (26%). In the trade missions of 2005 and 2007, almost all participants are active in business. Research and knowledge institutes start to participate in the trade missions of The large majority of participants is male (87%). More than half of the respondents is older than 50 years old (65%), only 9% is younger than 40 years old. In terms of previous China experience, half of the participants (43%) already had International Top Talent - October and November Page 3

5 experience in doing business with China before they participated in the trade mission, of which 9 more than 5 years China experience. Half of the participants did not have China experiences (57%), many of them participating in the May 2010 mission. The trade missions in 2010 are focused on a specific subject (Agriculture, Geomatics, Composites) which positively impacts the perceived added value of the trade mission. Goals participants in trade missions are mostly threefold The reasons why companies and research institutes want to participate in the trade missions are mostly threefold. The first goal to participate in the trade missions is to find Chinese producers to outsource production. A second goal is to find agents/ distributors to sell products in the local market. A third goal is to experience China and to explore possibilities for cooperation. In the 2010 missions these possibilities for cooperation are also focused on academic partnerships. From a questionnaire sent before departure to China in September 2010 we learn that most participants expect that the trade mission will bring value in number of new business contacts (8). The majority does not expect a positive impact on the turnover or purchase upfront. However, in section 3 of the research, we conclude that companies do realize positive outcomes from the trade missions. All participants believe that the added value of the Province of Flevoland will be high. The Province can open doors that otherwise would stay closed in China when doing business. One third of the respondents did not realize that the Province of Flevoland contributes to the trade missions financially. 74% of the respondents is prepared to pay less that 4,000 euro for the trade mission. Successful outcomes of trade missions for participants The outcome of the trade missions is significant. The large majority of the respondents give the trade mission an overall score of 8 and higher. 65% of the total responses said that their Chinese business contacts have increased after the trade mission mostly due to the matchmaking and the seminars at the World Expo Shanghai in The overall turnover increase is indicated at almost 3 Mio Euro, with an average turnover effect of 300,000 Euro per positive respondent in the trade missions of 2005, 2007 and May The overall indicated turnover effect is based on 61% response rate of the participants. The trade missions show increase of job positions resulted from starting business with Chinese companies at trade mission. An increase of 20 to 30 job positions is indicated. Participants valued the fact that they went as a group to China. Respondents say they learnt from each other s experiences. Matchmaking and seminars positively contribute to the overall outcomes. Important role for governmental parties in trade missions In the final part, the research shows high added value of the government parties by organizing the trade missions to China, in particular because these governmental relations open doors that would have otherwise been too difficult to open. The participants indicate important added value of the participation of the Province of Flevoland. In particular the Queen s Commissioner makes a positive difference in the trade mission. 83% indicates the important added value of a government official heading the missions. Half of the participants from 2005, 2007 and May 2010 says that they experienced added value from Chamber of Commerce. In the September 2010 mission Flevoland Development Agency OMFL played a role in the organization, which was well perceived by the participants of that mission. From the research, Province of Flevoland is suggested to continue the organization of trade mission to China as 78% of all responses support the continuation of trade missions to China. International Top Talent - October and November Page 4

6 GOALS AND OUTCOMES TRADE MISSIONS FLEVOLAND 1. Overview participants in the trade missions The Province of Flevoland organized four trade missions (2005, 2007, May 2010, Sept 2010) in joint cooperation with different governmental parties, like the Province of Utrecht (2005), the Chamber of Commerce (2007, May 2010) and the Flevoland Development Agency (Sept 2010). The trade missions facilitated the participants to meet and greet interesting Chinese parties for matchmaking activities. Also, the trade missions visited governmental institutes in the Province of Zhejiang, with whom the Province of Flevoland maintains friendly ties. In 2010, both trade missions participated in the World Expo in Shanghai 2010 to specific seminars on Agriculture, Geomatics and Composites. On average, the trade missions contain ten participants. The May 2010 mission forms an exception with seventeen (17) participants. In general the trade missions are mostly joined by production companies (26%), consultancy firms (17%) and research/knowledge institutes (26%). In the trade missions of 2005 and 2007, all participants are active in business (except for one). Research and knowledge institutes start to participate in the trade missions of May 2010 and September Unlike the previous trade missions, the trade missions in 2010 are focused on a specific subject (Agriculture, Geomatics, Composites). This focus impacts the type of participants and also positively affects the added value of the trade mission perceived by the participants. The respondents from 2010 score higher on the learning impact from their fellow participants, because they could easily share experiences and learn from each other. Also, the respondents say that the seminars enhanced the ability to share knowledge with Chinese counterparts. Amongst the responses of people that have participated in one of the trade missions, 87% are male and 13% are female. More than half of the respondents are older than 50 years old (65%). Only 9% is younger than 40 years old. We see a mixed picture when it comes to China experience. Half of the participants already have experience in doing business with China before they participate in the trade mission (43%), of which 9 has more than 5 years experience with China. 57% of the participants did not have China experiences. For the group of participants that lack previous China experience, the majority participates in the trade mission of May From the questionnaires we understand that 3 of the participants that decided to participate in the trade missions heard about the trade mission through the Chamber of Commerce. This was mainly in 2007 and May Almost 2 of the respondents got information directly through the Province of Flevoland. In the September 2010 mission, the majority of the participants in this mission got the information through the OMFL and exceptionally 5 through other channels, such as round table session, individual invitation and personal contacts. See annex 1 for more information on the delegation. International Top Talent - October and November Page 5

7 2. Goals participants in trade missions are mostly threefold From the research we see that there are three important general goals to participate in the trade missions. One goal is to find Chinese producers to outsource production. 57% of the respondents from 2005 and 2007 trade mission have this goal. A second goal of the participants is to find agents/ distributors to sell products in the local market. 43% of the respondents from 2005 and 2007 trade mission have this goal. This is also the group that has already a lot of China experience before they participate in the trade mission. A third reason to participate is to experience China and to explore possibilities for cooperation. 75% of the respondents of the missions in 2010 indicate this as main goal. Due to the participation of educational institutes in the 2010 missions, we found that academic cooperation was an important driver to participate. Dutch researchers and professionals working in education expect to find partners for cooperation in the Chinese top universities and they want to get to know the academic development in China in the same research area. I wanted to visit and contact Chinese vocational schools as I am really interested to see how Chinese organize vocational education. I also want to see the difference between China and the Netherlands, says a manager from a Dutch vocational school. I am working as a researcher in the field of Composites. In the trade mission, I expect to know the possibilities of collaboration with Chinese research institutes for the research carried out in my group, says a researcher from a Dutch research institute. Participants of the September 2010 mission were asked about the expectations of the mission before they went to China. The majority expects to build up new relations with Chinese counterparts or to further strengthen existing relations. The research institutes want to get an impression of the level of knowledge in China on their subject. They also target to attract new students for positions in the Netherlands. When being asked what they expect to get out of the trade mission in terms of number of business contacts, almost 8 answers to build up 2 or more new contacts. In terms of business value (in Euro) this is less. Only one respondent (1) expects that the trade mission will increase his turnover. However, further on in the research (section 3), we conclude that companies do realize positive outcomes from the trade missions. Participants of all trade missions believe that the added value of the Province of Flevoland will be high. The Province can open doors that otherwise would stay closed in China when doing business. Also, respondents say that the organization of all elements in the trade mission (matchmaking, seminars) brings added value to them, because it is not something they could have organized individually. One third of the respondents does not know that the Province of Flevoland financially contributes to the organization. As for the amount of money the participants were willing to spend on the trade mission, 74% of the respondents is prepared to pay less than 4,000 Euro for the trade mission. 17% of the responses did not respond the question about the amount of money they are willing to spend to participate or never calculated the expenses. International Top Talent - October and November Page 6

8 3. Successful outcomes of trade missions for participants This research shows that the personal outcome of the trade mission is very positive regarding business contacts, turnover, purchase from China, match making session, seminars and added value from fellow participants. The large majority of the respondents give the trade mission an overall score of 7 and higher, of which 52% an 8 and higher. The participants are satisfied with the great organization, good matchmaking, interesting seminars, and number of new contacts. My expectation of joining in the trade mission was just to have a touch upon doing business with China. But my experience in the trade mission was really more than my expectation that I not only met potential Chinese business partners, but also learned a lot from my fellow participants who are very experienced in the same industry. The seminar in my trade mission was also well organized and it was really unexpected to me that 8 of the audience was Chinese professionals, says a managing director from an aviation company. 65% of the total responses said that their Chinese business contacts have increased after the trade mission. They were able to know potential business partners through matching making session in the trade missions and the specific seminars in The match making session in the trade mission offers Dutch companies an opportunity to meet potential Chinese business partners. The research shows that respondents from 2010 missions highly evaluate the seminars as they met interesting Chinese parties and exchanged valuable information. Some of the participants already had Chinese business partners and the trade mission offered them an opportunity to meet old contacts and strengthen the relation. Our goal was to contact potential clients in China for our agricultural products during the trade mission. In the match making I met an interesting party with whom we signed a letter of intent and we are now working together on setting up a business plan, says a project manager from an agricultural institute. The seminar gave the opportunity to strengthen and deepen our existing relations with Chinese partners. In China, our partners appreciate this way of sharing knowledge and actively approached us to participate in this seminar. I personally learnt at the seminar where the Chinese focus on in their Agricultural developments, which is useful in our strategic planning, says a professor from university. The trade missions have a positive impact on the increase of turnover. Almost 3 of the respondents see a positive effect on their turnover after the trade missions. This effect is mainly seen at participants of the 2005 and 2007 trade mission. Participants of 2010 are expected to draw turnover increases. The overall turnover increase is indicated at almost 3 Mio Euro, with an average turnover effect of 300,000 Euro per positive respondent in the trade missions of 2005, 2007 and May The overall indicated turnover effect is based on 61% response rate of the participants. It can be expected that the increase of turnover is higher for the total number of participants. There is a concrete turnover of 900,000 Euro from 2005 trade mission. In the year of 2007, one response reported a turnover of 300,000 Euro which comes from working with a Chinese supplier of fruit and vegetable. In the May 2010 trade mission, 25% of the responses demonstrate an estimation of almost 600,000 Euro of turnover increase. In the September 2010 mission, one participant from a logistic company said that he expects 500,000 to 1,000,000 Euro of turnover in the long term as during the trade mission they have largely increased their exposure to potential Chinese companies. International Top Talent - October and November Page 7

9 The research also shows a positive result of extra job positions resulted from starting business with Chinese companies at the trade mission. Two respondents say that there company has grown with 5 job positions. One company expects to have 10 to 20 extra job positions in the long term as a result from the trade mission of September The indicated increase of 20 to 30 job positions is based on a response rate of 61% of participants. We have outsourced a part of our business, software development, to China after the 2005 trade mission. It s difficult to count the direct turnover, but we earned some dollars per hour. It is 2 or 3 dollars cheaper per hour to outsource to China than to South Africa, says a managing director of an IT company. We established a concrete project with a food company who we met in the 2007 trade mission. As a result, one of our students was relocated to China, which is a positive experience. She went to work in China as an expert in the food technology sector and also a representative of the Dutch partner, says a professor from a Dutch agricultural university. In the trade missions, participants went to China as a delegation. The added value of the trade mission delegation is positive as participants exchanged information with each other and established business contacts. I found it very valuable that we could exchange information on what fellow participants heard and saw during the trade mission. I got feedback from other participants on the companies which I didn t visit by myself. If I went to China alone, I would not receive so much interesting information from followers. I also found that some followers are very knowledgeable in the same industry where we are active so I also learned a lot from them, says a director from a geomatics company. We found out that the outcome of academic cooperation is also positive according to a professor from a research institute. I talked with some interesting universities during my trade mission to China. After I returned to the Netherlands I convinced my boss that the cooperation with Chinese universities is challenging and useful for us. They took my advices that later on they developed some courses and programs with Nanjing and Zhejiang University. The cooperation is very positive and still going on now, says a professor from a Dutch agricultural university. International Top Talent - October and November Page 8

10 4. Important role for governmental parties in trade missions Governmental parties play a positive role in organizing the trade missions as 83% of all the responses consider governmental parties make a positive difference in leading the trade mission, of which 33% says it makes a huge difference. Participants also see governmental officials as a door opener towards China. The research also shows positive feedback from the participants when they are being asked the added value of the participation of the Province of Flevoland in the trade mission. In particular the Queen s Commissioner makes a positive difference in the trade mission. More than half of the respondents says that the Province of Flevoland has well organized the trade missions to China. To establish a composite centre of excellence, the positive participation of the (local) government is essential. This participation should be built on vision, but also on belief and trust. The trade mission facilitated the development of these elements, says a director of a composites company. I would like to say that the Province of Flevoland acted as the representative of the Dutch government and supported the mission, even though the composite activities are not limited to the Province. They did an excellent job, says a director of a composite company It is beneficial to have Queen s commissioner in the setting. The governmental parties in China really have a big impact on doing business so that we have to involve them. The Queen s commissioner knows how to deal with the governmental parties in China, and he is able and capable to deal with that, says a director strategy of an aviation company. I was really impressed by the role, the commitment and the knowledge of the business of our Queen s Commissioner Mr. Leen Verbeek in the trade mission. We have to be really proud on him and his colleagues, says an operational director of a logistic company. The participants experienced added value from the Chamber of Commerce (2005 not available, and May %). We found that the Development Agency Flevoland (OMFL) also got positive feedback from the responses of the 2010 September mission, 88% of whom say that OMFL made high difference in the trade mission. Chamber of Commerce provided the people of match making and they also helped us a lot on how to cooperate with Chinese people based on their knowledge. As we don t have experience with China before, during the trade mission we talked with a person from Chamber of Commerce on Chinese business, says a managing director of a consultancy company. OMFL plays a good and impressive role by combining different opportunities. They have prepared themselves very well in the organization of the trade mission. I like the clear agenda and matching making session. I was really impressed and we have to be proud of OMFL, says an operational director of a logistics company. From the research, Province of Flevoland is suggested to continue the organization of trade mission to China as 78% of all responses support the continuation of trade mission. When it comes to the other trade mission countries, India, Vietnam and Brazil got the top three rankings with 29%, 21% and 13% respectively among the responses. International Top Talent - October and November Page 9

11 ANNEX 1 DELEGATES AND RESPONSE RATES FOUR TRADE MISSIONS This Annex provides a short overview of outcomes of the questionnaires in the following graphs. Furthermore it gives insights in the response rates for the questionnaires used in this research and an overview of the companies and institutes that participated in the four trade missions. Graphs outcomes questionnaires research 10 Gender of the Respondents 8 Age Male Female < >50 6 China Experience 8 Years of China Experience yes no < >10 Industry Where the Responses Are Active 2 Trading Service Consultancy Production Catering Research Construction Distribution Logistics International Top Talent - October and November Page 10

12 Business Contacts Turnover It stayed the same It rose slightly It rose significantly Not applicable It stayed the same It rose slightly It rose significantly Not applicable Role of Governmental Parties 6 2 Makes a negative difference Makes no difference Makes some positive difference Makes huge positive difference No opinion Money participants are willing to pay for participation in trade mission 2 < 2 k 2 k - 3 k 3 k - 4 k 4 k - 5 k 5 k - 6 k 6 k - 7 k 7 k - 8 k 8 k - 9 k 9 k No answer International Top Talent - October and November Page 11

13 Overall score for all trade missions Average score per trade mission Score May 2010 Sep 2010 International Top Talent - October and November Page 12

14 Overview of the number of responses per mission Dutch trade mission to the Province of Guangdong and the Province of Zhejiang (jointly with Province of Utrecht) When: April 2005 # of Participants: 6 # of questionnaires sent out: 4 # of questionnaires received: 3 Dutch trade mission of the Province of Flevoland to Zhejiang Province, INTERTECH China in Wujiang and Shanghai When: October 2007 # of Participants: 10 # of questionnaires sent out: 7 # of questionnaires received: 4 Dutch trade mission to Shanghai and the Province of Zhejiang (including World Expo Shanghai) When: May 2010 # of Participants: 17 # of questionnaires sent out: 17 # of questionnaires received: 8 Dutch trade mission to Beijing, the Province of Zhejiang and Shanghai (including World Expo Shanghai) When: September 2010 # of Participants: 10 # of questionnaires sent out: 10 # of questionnaires received: 8 International Top Talent - October and November Page 13

15 Overview of participating companies and institutes Trade Mission Company Name 2005 A.S.F.Fischer BV FRS Europe BV Hennhouse Ltd Lexence NV Van Bragt Marketing Management BV Victron Energy BV 2007 Bies International Trading BV Borrias Business Service CAH Dronten University of Applied Sciences Denmax HAK and Jonker Fris Oceanis Seafood BV Poppers Group BV Poppers Zimit BV Selina's Wedding May 2010 September 2010 A.S.F.Fischer BV Nijkamp Expo Applied Plant Research (APR), Wageningen University & Research Center The Animal Science Group, Wageningen University & Research Center Management Partners International Lodders Organisatie en Advies Omnivent Techniek BV GON VNK BV Dutch Global Coaching NAK Agro Kunststof Verwerking Nederland BV WTC Almere ROC Flevoland Asian Paradise Fokker Landing Gear Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium (NLR) Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) FiberCore Airborne International BV Windesheim University of Applied Sciences Black Box Logistics Europe BV Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente Geomatics Business Park BMT Argoss International Top Talent - October and November Page 14

16 ANNEX 2 QUESTIONNAIRE RESEARCH PART 1: PERSONAL INFORMATION Please the right one 1. Gender: male (m) female (v) 2. Age: < years years > 50 years 3. Which trade mission of the Province of Flevoland did you participate in? May 2010 September Industry: 5. Did you have any China experience before participating in the trade mission? Yes No If yes, how many years 6. How did you hear about the trade mission you participated in? Through: the Province of Flevoland Chamber of Commerce OMFL My business relations Media Other, please explain PART 2: PERSONAL GOAL OF THE TRADE MISSION 1. What was your key goal of participating in the trade mission to China?. 2. How much money are you willing to pay for the participation in a trade mission? Please the right one < 2.000,--.. (Please state an amount) 2.000, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,--.. (Please state an amount) International Top Talent - October and November Page 15

17 PART 3: PERSONAL OUTCOME OF THE TRADE MISSION 1. What effects did your participation in the trade mission bring to your business regarding: Please the right one the number of business contacts with Chinese clients or suppliers It stayed the same It rose slightly It rose significantly your turnover It stayed the same It rose slightly It rose significantly the amount of products you purchased from China It stayed the same It rose slightly It rose significantly your profit It stayed the same It rose slightly It rose significantly 2. Can you give an estimate of the extra amount of a) Turnover the trade mission brought to your business EUR b) Job positions that were provided in your company because of the trade mission? Number of extra jobs 3. What was the outcome of your matchmaking meetings during the trade mission? 4. Did you experience added value from your fellow participants with whom you went to China as a group? Yes No No answer Please explain 5. Which overall score (from 0 to 10) would you give to the trade mission you participated in? (0 is lowest score and 10 is highest score): Score Why?: PART 4: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENTAL PARTIES IN THE TRADE MISSION 1. How do you consider the importance of having a government official to lead the trade mission? Makes a negative difference Makes no difference Makes some positive difference Makes huge positive difference No opinion International Top Talent - October and November Page 16

18 2. What added value did you experience from the participation of the Province of Flevoland in your trade mission to China?.. 3. How would you overall evaluate the participation of the Chamber of Commerce in your trade mission to China? Low No difference High Why?: 4. How would you overall evaluate the participation of the Development Agency Flevoland (OMFL) in your trade mission to China? Low No difference High Why?: 5. Should the Province of Flevoland continue organizing trade missions to China? Yes No 6. Should the Province of Flevoland invest in trade missions to other countries then China? Yes, to No Do you have any additional comments or remarks? International Top Talent - October and November Page 17

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