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Scandic Sourcing has developed a new Procurement Solution on a subscription basis. For a monthly sum, your company gets a package of procurement and supplier management services to ensure that your supply chain in China runs safely and without interruptions.

Scandic Sourcing evaluates your supplier pool to identify potential risks and prevent interruptions in your supply chain. We make sure to communicate directly with the factory owners or the management to circumvent costly middlemen and third-party agents. We can communicate directly with all layers of the suppliers organisation to get you the best price and conditions and build transparent and long-term relations with the suppliers in the process to ensure favorable working conditions.

We also handle quote requests and organise the bidding process for new orders. We also do continous research to keep you updated on the cost structure for your industry in China, including raw material /material costs and market price. 

Scandic Sourcing can be the partner in China you can trust; it doesn’t only save you regular trips to China or having to station employees here, but also makes sure your supply chain is managed cost-efficiently and that it is stable and risk free. The subscription service also includes reduced rates on our regular services such as supplier searches, field audits and supplier code of conduct programs.

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As the Chinese stock market went plummeting in a 23% fall during the first week of trading in January of this year, doubts have been raised about the state of the Chinese economy and what broader implications a general slowdown might have. After giving a brief overview of the current situation, Scandic Sourcing talks to renowned financial journalist Roger Aitken to get a grip on where the Chinese economy is heading.

Stock market chaos

The Shanghai composite index is down almost 40% since its June 2014 high, and growth is continuing to decline especially in the manufacturing sector. Beijing’s unpredictable response to the issues are sometimes contributing factors to the fall such as the use of circuit breakers which shut down trading once the market had fallen below 5%. This new practice caused even more panic and was quickly suspended.

The January crash came after a weak year of 2015 that saw the lowest growth numbers in a quarter century, halting at 6.8% after a slow last quarter with especially poor growth in the industrial sector. This ties in to the broader story of China’s ambition to transition from a manufacturing driven economy to a consumption driven one. Thus, large parts of the Chinese service sector is growing, while traditional industrial sectors continue to decline.

What exactly is 'Smurfing'?

The shaky economy has also triggered a mass exodus of capital last year which continues in 2016 as well. Chinese citizens are not entirely free to take capital out of the country, though many are trying to do so illegally. Currently, the cap is set to $50 000/year. This is overcome by a procedure known as “Smurfing”, where wealthy Chinese employ the services of relatives to help them get money out of China. One woman, using than 140 relatives and friends was able to convert $7 million from renminbi into dollars. Over the last year, companies and individuals moved nearly $1 trillion from China which has continued to lessen confidence in the Chinese economy.

The Chinese central bank is fighting the pressure by selling dollars from its currency reserves and purchasing renminbi. China's foreign currency reserves is taking a toll, sinking by $108 billion in December and an additional $99 billion in January, to $3.23 trillion down from $4 trillion a year and a half ago.

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To straighten out where things are headed and what implications China’s economic turmoil might have for the world at large, Scandic Sourcing talks to financial journalist Roger Aitkenformer Financial Times staff writer in London who writes on markets, exchanges, trading and IT. Currently he contributes to Forbes and other titles.

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 Image credits: Jason Spoor, White Fox Studios.

If China’s economy keeps stumbling, is there a risk for a domino effect a causing global recession?

 
"There has been a slowdown in China that's been going on for five years now and the realization is starting to dawn in certain quarters that there is a real risk of a Chinese credit crisis.
 
Clearly, there could be risk of a domino effect causing a global recession. And, perhaps eyebrows should be raised over China’s debt-to-GDP ratio that recently stood at around 228% on an absolute level - both public and private debt - according to sources including the World Bank, central banks and Oxford Economics.
 
Put in context, South Korea ranked in second place with 222% debt-to-GDP, Taiwan was third (174%), Malaysia fourth (169%), Thailand in fifth (154%) and Brazil in sixth spot (129%). And capital outflows from China have been rising too.
 
But the more important test is the five-year percentage change in the same debt-to-GDP. This is due to the fact that a rapid increase in leverage is an important indicator of future stress in the financial system. For China this stands at 47% and heads Thailand and Brazil in joint second place on 27%.
 
Economists and policy makers have agreed that China should rebalance its economy, with less dependence on investment and export growth and greater importance for consumer spending. But this will take time and along the way there will no doubt be a few shocks to the global economy and world stock markets going forward.
 
The industrial sectors with the largest excess capacity were rarely addressed by the Chinese authorities, as local governments had major economic interests in those sectors. Overcapacity became even more significant in industries such as steel and aluminium, and in parts of the housing market.
 
It’s far too premature to predict the decline of China’s manufacturing industry. A more likely scenario is that industry will adapt and move higher up the value chain, especially with ‘Innovation’ being one of five key areas under the nation’s Thirteenth 5-year Plan that runs from 2016 to 2020.
But as Peter Sengelmann, Senior Portfolio Manager, Emerging Market & Asian Debt (Local Currency & Local Bonds) of Dutch-headquartered NN Investment Partners that managed assets of some €187 billion ($204bn), pointed out late this February: “China is moving at incredible speed, but will slow or accelerate its progress to suit its needs.” (AUM figure cited above was at 31 December 2015).
 
He contended further: “Much to the chagrin of the rest of the world, the seemingly arbitrary decisions coming from Beijing create uncertainty, but the master plan remains in place with China’s sights set on the end goal.”
 

It seems like the extreme stock market turmoil has not caused any great harm to China’s economy and the individual Chinese saver. How come?

 
Despite shares on the Chinese equities markets tanking by around 6% back on 26 January 2016 to reach a then 14-month low, what should be realised is that the stock market in China is not necessarily reflective of the health of the broader economy.
 
This is due to the fact that many of its biggest enterprises remain in state control and the vast bulk of trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges is by individual investors. Fundamentally this is the difference between the China and Western economies.
 
In fact, China’s stock market is small relative to its economy compared to the relationship between exchanges and economies in developed markets. Still, it’s worth noting that the Shanghai Composite index, which closed at just over 2,895 points on 7 March 2016, is down 18.02% year to date (YTD) with the one-year return being -9.06%. This puts the index back where it was in mid-December 2014, but 44% lower than the 5,166 peak set in June last year. So, a big correction and we are not out of the woods yet.
 
The Chinese authorities have been instituting a multitude of reform changes and in a simultaneous manner - in terms of the country’s economy, stock market and other areas. These measures have been slow and uneven as well as complex. And, it should therefore come as no surprise that they move forward in fits and starts.
 
The country is now embarking on its Thirteenth 5-year Plan (2016-2020), which spans five pillars. As well as ‘Innovation’ measures already mentioned (i.e. moving up the value chain), the latest plan covers ‘Balancing’ (bridging welfare gaps between cities and the countryside), ‘Opening Up’ (i.e. deeper participation in supranational power structures and more international co-operation), ‘Greening’ (developing environmental technology industry), and ‘Sharing’ (encouraging the people to share the fruits of economic growth).
 
China’s lower economic growth rate is reflective of the structural readjustments occurring in the economy as it becomes more domestic driven and less reliant on exports. Above all, the overwhelming policy objective is maintaining stability and supporting sustainable growth.
 
On the savings front, the average Chinese household stashes away c.30% of its disposable income - one of the highest rates in the world. That sounds positive on the surface and handy for rainy days. But with this situation it’s hard to see how consumption will be boosted unless the hooked Chinese savers reassess their approach.
 
That, said consumption accounts for just over a third (c.35% of GDP). By comparison the average savings rate for US  households was recently put at around 5%-6% of income, in a country where and consumption accounts for c.75% the economy.
 
Specifically, China’s reforms and initiatives include the liberalisation of the currency, the Renminbi (Yuan), and the opening up of the capital account; greater international involvement in geopolitical matters; domestic financial reforms (e.g. interest rates, local government financing); the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative to boost overland and maritime trade routes to central Asia; and, the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The latter aims to expand China’s global influence.
 
As previously stated though there will be jitters along the way and for the simple reason: change, which equals uncertainty that spooks markets. China is evolving and the world is not ready for it. This is especially so when the country is not fully open about its intentions. Add to that some critics argue that Beijing’s lack of transparency arises from the fact that it does not know where it wants to go.
 
Furthermore, figures released early this March showed that Chinese exports recorded their worst showing in six years. Data for February 2016 revealed that the nation’s exports witnessed a 24.5% decline over a year earlier, and imports declined by around 14%.
 
This export slump again underscores the huge challenges that China’s export-driven model is facing and how domestic demand needs to grow to take up the slack in order to maintain the growth momentum.
 
Should this not happen, China’s growth is likely to slow considerably and be below the 6.5% target set by the government at the start of this March. So, despite a plethora of reform measures initiated don’t discount more volatility on the markets going forward.

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The Swedish cleantech company OrganoClick wanted to find a Chinese distributor of finishing treatment Chemicals for their environmental friendly functional material and hired Scandic Sourcing who conducted a distributor search in China. After Scandic Sourcing made their recommendations, OrganoClick signed a distribution deal with a Chinese distributor with a large customer base in Shanghai for the sales of OrganoClick’s patented water repellant OrganoTex®.

OrganoClick is a public Swedish cleantech company listed on Nasdaq First North. The company develops, produces and markets functional materials based on environmentally friendly fiber chemistry. Examples of products that are marketed by OrganoClick are the water repellent fabric treatment OrganoTex®, the flame and rot-resistant timber OrganoWood® and bio composite materials. OrganoClick was founded in 2006 as a commercial spin-off company based on research performed at Stockholm University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences within environmentally friendly fiber chemistry. OrganoClick has won a number of prizes, such as "Sweden's Most Promising Start-up" and "Sweden's Best Environmental Innovation", and has also the WWF "Climate Solver" award and has also appeared for two years on the Affärsvärldens and NyTekniks list of Sweden's top hottest technology companies.

 

“The cooperation that now starts with Shanghai Amazingtex Trading Co, Ltd is a good first step for us in Asia. We will now continue our work to set up distribution networks in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan" - Mårten Hellberg, CEO OrganoClick

 

OrganoClick has as part of their expansion focused on the Asian markets through co-operation with local distributors in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. About 77% of the world’s total production of functional textiles is produced here; China is the dominant player with more than 15.000 textile factories, the largest concentration of which can be found in Shanghai.

 

Distributor Search

OrganoClick wanted to find a Chinese distributor for their durable water repellent that is used for the production of OrganoTex® and hired Scandic Sourcing to do a distributor search for the Chinese market.

Scandic Sourcing identified over 50 companies according to the specifications made by Organo Click and qualified 12 possible partners.Scandic Sourcing put each possible partner through a detailed survey and scored each one according to a number of specifications and shortlisted the 5 highest scoring candidates.

OrganoClick reached an agreement with one of the distributors on the short-list that was their best fit and also had a broad customer network in China. "This is a first important step for us in our ambition to get a good geographical distribution of our textile products and technologies on the Asian textile market”, says Mårten Hellberg, CEO OrganoClick in a Press Release. “The cooperation that now starts with Shanghai Amazingtex Trading Co, Ltd is a good first step for us in Asia. We will now continue our work to set up distribution networks in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan".

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The Swedish Plastic Component company KB Components is in a start-up phase in China and needed help to construct and decorate an office inside their factory in Wuxi, China. They hired Scandic Sourcing who provided a project manager to oversee the project, attain local permits, and handle negotiations with third parties. With the help of Scandic Sourcing’s project management, the office was constructed and completed within the time frame and the budget set out by KB Components. 

KB Components is one of the leading suppliers in Scandinavia of advanced plastic components with their bulk of their operations located in Sweden and Lithuania. As part of a global growth strategy, KB Components is following their customers and establishing factories locally where their customers operate. Thus they have established a factory in Wuxi, West of Shanghai to reach the Chinese market. Their main focus is to construct a factory that is comparable in standard with other factories in the KB-group. KB Components also needed to establish an office in the factory to gather all parts of their staff under one roof and hired Scandic Sourcing to facilitate the construction, project manage the day to day construction, and to negotiate and handle the decoration of the office.

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Scandic Sourcings project manager Edvard Olsson negotiates with the design firm in charge of decorating the office.

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Edvard inspects the work inside KB's factory.

The project manager that Scandic Sourcing provided had three main goals: to ensure that the construction and decoration were done according to the client’s specifications and requirements, aim to have the factory ready for use by October 31, 2015, and to minimize the clients cost and risk. These targets were reached and the construction was finished on time, ready to serve KB Component's China expansion.

Scandic Sourcing have handled and followed through with the project in a detailed and professional manner and have during the whole project had an open and clear communication. This has given us good insight and lessened our concern in the headquarters in Sweden, which has been important since this is a green-field operation", says Robert Ramner, CEO at KB Components about Scandic Sourcing's project management.

 

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The finished result

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Business Visa

There are many types of visas to China, (C, D, F, G, J1, J2, L, M) etc. according to all circumstances, but if you are visiting on business, you should apply for an M visa. Typically the M-visa is for 90 days, and can be extended to up to a maximum of 180 days without leaving China.

Requirements:

1. Passport

Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and four blank visa pages

2. Visa Application Form and Photo

3. An invitation letter which contains:

Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)

Information on the planned visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)

Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual). These documents may be handed over as photocopies, but in some cases the consulate will require the original document.

4. A copy of the Chinese firm’s business license

5. A business card with your company’s name and contact information (telephone, email, etc)

 

Tourist Visa

If you want to go to China on a tourist visa you should apply about at least about a month before departure and the application can be handled either by yourself or through an agency. To complete the application you need a passport valid for at least 6 months, and a photocopy of it, as well as a properly filled out visa application, two passport photos, a return ticket, a hotel booking for at least the first night, and a written travel plan. You can alternatively present an invitation letter from a contact with a Chinese residence permit instead of the hotel booking if you are visiting a friend.

 

Transit visa

If you stop over in China for three days or less, it’s possible to do so without a visa. This is only possible in the following cities and if you stay within the city limits:

Beijing (Beijing Capital International Airport);

Shanghai (Shanghai Pudong International Airport or Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport);

Guangzhou (Guangzhou Baiyu International Airport);

Chengdu (Chengdu ShuangLiu International Airport);

Chongqing (Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport);

Shenyang (Shenyang Taoxian Internatioanl Airport);

Dalian (Dalian International Airport);

Xian (Xian Xianyang International Airport);

Guilin (Guilin Liangjiang International Airport);

Kunming (Kunming Changshui International Airport);

Hangzhou (Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport).

 

Besides a valid passport, you’ll have to have a visa for your destination country (if required) and an airline ticket – with a departure time within 72 hours, – for the country you are traveling to.

Note that the countries of origin and  destination cannot be the same. For this reason a ticket Rome-Shanghai-Milan won’t allow you an exemption; you’ll need a ticket such as Rome-Beijing-Tokyo or Rome-Shanghai-Seoul. The final destination can also be Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

 

How do I request the 72 hour exemption?

You can forward your request for transit to your airline in advance, so that the airline can declare this to the Immigration Inspection prior to your visit. You will be granted a transit permit at the airport if you meet all requirements. NOTE: Beijing Capital International Airport has now changed this procedure; passengers can apply directly for 72 hour free transit permit after arrival at the airport.