Strong business relations are key in China

Date: 16/06/2014

Danish Queen Margrethe II and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Danish state visit to China.​

​COWI wins more projects within sustainable urban development in China as a direct result of the Danish Queen Margrethe II’s visit to China and “guanxi”.

​In April, the Danish Queen H.M. Margrethe II visited China accompanied by the largest delegation in Danish history ever on a state visit. The expectations for the outcome of the visit among Danish companies, including COWI, were very high but not unrealistic because in China it is all about relations and connections and the queen’s visit was therefore significant. Chinese business management is to a great extent based on the idea of strong personal relationships. This core concept is called quanxi.

COWI signed two significant new contracts during the official Danish state visit, both of which will contribute to a more sustainable China. One project is on contaminated soil in the city of Wuxi and the second contract signed was with Green China, an organisation consisting of Danish businesses working with sustainability in China.

Jens Moth, Managing Director of COWI China and former Commercial Counsellor at the Danish Embassy in Beijing, emphasizes the importance of quanxi.

“Guanxi is the traditional term used for building up goodwill in your network, and for a company with the highest business integrity like COWI it can involve facilitating government-to-government relations and visits on provincial- as well as municipal level. This in turn, spurs knowledge exchange, – like in Wuxi -, and develops opportunities for business.”

Official Denmark key to more guanxi
COWI has been active in China for almost 30 years and even though the Chinese based office is small it is a popular destination for visitors and project investors from all over the world.

“In Denmark it is easier to get in contact with the decisions makers at the client – your product or service and its price often speaks for itself. In China however, everything is about locating the right contact levels, making personal relationships and establishing long-term relationships. We need “the official Denmark” to break the ice at the highest level, because through them we get contact to the decision makers and the technical people, and for all levels we will have to maintain matching relationships in order to develop business in China,” says Moth and adds that he is very pleased with the outcome of the official Danish state visit.

Source: COWI