FinNode China - Threats and Opportunities for Finnish Companies and Organizations in Chinese Social Media
The number of Chinese internet users is approaching 600 million users. The use of social media is also growing very quickly and is now close to 400 million users. Global social media brands such as Facebook and Twitter are all banned in China. The main reasons for this have mainly been state control issues and the goal to develop strong Chinese social media brands such as Sina Weibo, RenRen and Kaixing. The huge number of social media aware people in China is both a threat and an opportunity for Finnish companies. In the worst case a company can be targeted in the social media community for various actions and immediately tens of millions of people can be aware of the situation and join some actions against the company. In the best case the company is aware of the social media and has built up a social media identity and strategy in order to boost sales and to be protected if there is a social media attack against the company.
Goal and strategic compliance
Project’s goal and its compatibility with the National innovation strategy and with the strategic objectives of FinNode partners, OSKEs, SHOKs etc.
Many foreign companies have not taken the social media into enough consideration when setting up their business plans and strategies for China. This social media issue is an activity which is quite far from many Finnish SME’s core competences in China, but still it can hurt the companies business in China very much if they are not having even basic skills on how to tackle these kinds of situation inside Chinese social media. Many risks can be avoided and many saved if the Finnish companies coming to China or already operational in China can address these issues better in the future.
Case study or pilot project
CLEANTECH FINLAND® IS A GATEWAY to the top Finnish cleantech companies. Cleantech Finland gives clients, partners, investors and other stakeholders all over the world easy access to the best cleantech expertise. In Finland the cleantech sector includes about 2,000 enterprises and it is highly diversified. The national objective is to develop the sector into a new cornerstone industry. Finnish cleantech companies are already global leaders in energy efficiency, clean industrial processes and bioenergy. Other key areas are measuring, analysis and automation, renewable energy, waste management as well as water and waste water treatment and air protection.
In 2009, with an increasing impetus of social media, Cleantech Finland has developed a strategy for its social media presence. This strategy laid out the foundation of social media, which became one of the pillars of marketing the Finnish cleantech expertise internationally. Gradually, social media became not only a part of the overall marketing strategy of Cleantech Finland, but a strong driving force in inovating the whole marketing platform Cleantech Finland provides to its member companies (the new web page of Cleantech Finland will fully integrate and interconnect different social media channels). For instance, Cleantech Finland page is nowadays the number one “Cleantech” related page on Facebook globally. However, the ambition is to still increase the actual member base many folds, and so even increase the exposure of Finnish cleantech expertise on foreign, if not global markets, and especially in China.
With the purpose of meetings its mission, i.e. Finland becoming the top cleantech expert globally, we aim to extend our social media presence outside of the traditional western channels as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn among the main ones. As China is to become the number one market for Finnish cleantech companies within timeframe of less than 5 years (now it is ranked as number three), we aim to analyse the Chinese social media channels. First of all, our aim is to learn about the challenges and opportunities the social media channels might impose on Cleantech Finland, and so to define the priorities of the drafted strategy in the next phase. Logically, the strategy will lead into an action plan and its implementation thereafter. We believe that this learning exercise can serve as a lerning process to various stakeholders besides Cleantech Finland. Starting with the national organizations (as Cleantech Finland is a brand managed by Finpro) and most importantly being utilized by Finnish companies (as Cleantech Finland is a brand owned by the Confederation of Finnish Industries). Last but not least, Cleantech Finland is a brand which unites more than top 90 Finnish cleantech companies and strategic organizational partners. Therefore, this aspect has a further implications not only to the brand itself, but especially to the companies which construct this brand. The ultimate effort now is to develop a core competence in understanding the social media in China from perspective of challenges and opportunities and so to think about the critical points, which need to be further supported or diminished within the strategy process. The ultimate goal, to which the continual effort should lead, is to create a solid presence of Cleantech Finland within the social media ecosystem in China.
Project manager: Eric Cheng (Finpro Hong Kong), project manager (Tekes) & team: tbc
Main tasks, schedule, deliverables (signal session, client seminar, report etc.) and cooperation (with FinNode partners, OSKEs, SHOKs etc.).
Phase 1 Current situation study (Study the general situation of China Social Media market):
•Overview of the Industry.
•Ecosystem analysis and value chain.
Finpro + Tekes interim review telephone conference
Phase 2 Evaluation and analysis (Trends of using different social media in China):
•In-depth analysis of:
•Services and business models in each segments
•User and business application trends in each segments, especially by young generation
•Study for social media platforms (market, user, trend)
•Social media sites
Phase 3 Key opportunities identification
•Evaluation of the current/future business uses of social media in China
•Case study (may consider travel industry if available)
Identify the opportunities and treats for Finnish companies
Phase 4 Reporting the conclusion and next step discussion
Finpro + Tekes study and open seminar to Finnish companies
•April - September 2012
Finpro Hong Kong
+85 2 2521 3316