Finnish Valmet seeks maritime growth from China
China will be one of the major markets for Finnish company Valmet's maritime business in the years to come. Currently, Valmet is building up its presence in the Chinese maritime market, with a future growth in mind. The Finnish trade promotion agency Finpro has been a handy adviser during the market entry process.
Finnish technology and automation system company Valmet certainly knows a lot about two things: China and maritime business.
First, some facts about Valmet and China.
The company is well-set in the Chinese market with altogether eight service centers, six production units, and three sales offices across the country. As it stands, Valmet possesses a leading status in pulp and paper (P&P) process technology as well as a strong position in services and P&P automation. Moreover, just last year Valmet's Chinese operations recorded net sales of 362 million euros and had almost 1 700 employees.
Secondly, Valmet boasts a similar diligence in its maritime business, which dates back over 200 years. Despite the long track record, for Valmet, maritime is not just about old merits or tradition; just recently, they announced a delivery of automation for a modern arctic icebreaking tanker.
In all fairness, these are quite impressive numbers and features. Thus, it may be a bit of a surprise that even with such whopping numbers and tremendous experience, Valmet's Chinese operations have not had a previous focus on maritime.
However, that will change soon.
"We will consistently invest in our marine business in China," says John Weierud, Director of Process Automation Systems at Valmet's Marine Industry. "Besides the investments, a successful market entry will obviously require patience from us. So far, everything has worked out well."
Gaining ground with Finpro
Valmet's maritime maneuver in China started in early 2016 when the representatives of Valmet and Finpro met in Turku, Finland. During the first meeting, Liwei Tan, Senior Advisor at Finpro Shanghai, provided basic info about the Chinese maritime market as well as some practical advice.
All the way from the beginning, Valmet had a clear vision with China. Just a month after the initial meeting, the company joined a group of Finnish companies on a fact-finding trip to China, which was organized by Finpro.
During the journey, the company gained a wealth of useful contacts and information. Moreover, the meetings were encouraging, as the Chinese players expressed a clear interest towards Valmet's solutions.
Consequently, the first fact-finding trip was followed by a flow of other visits, which included the likes of customer meetings. According to Valmet's Weierud, Finpro's help was outstanding throughout the process.
"With the help of Finpro, we were able to enter into discussions with a wide variety of Chinese companies, including shipyards, even on relatively short notice," says John Weierud. "Currently, things are moving forward quite quickly. We have already received the first requests for quotation. Needless to say, we aim high in China, but the start has been even better than expected."
"Our help was very practical in the beginning," says Ulla Lainio, Program Director at Finpro. "Later on we helped Valmet to build up their network and gain useful contacts with the right Chinese customers and other relevant maritime players."