For a very long time we imagined that China and Europe were very different from one another. The effect of China’s catch-up has been startling and even though we may still often differ on cultural, political or socio-economic grounds our cities and regions face the same challenges of urbanisation and sustainable growth.
For Peter Vesterbacka, well-versed in the immense opportunities offered by the Chinese export market, Chinese language proficiency represents an important building block for Finland’s future economic prosperity. As he has it, a workforce proficient in the language would attract Chinese and other international companies to base themselves in Finland, and also smooth the way for Finnish companies keen to access the huge market in China, which continues to see growth despite a recent slow down.
As a venture capital investor from China seeking startups to invest in, Espoo was a complete stranger to me when I landed at Helsinki Airport in April 2015. It was during that visit that I was recommended to join Espoo Innovation Garden’s Facebook group as a Gardener.