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Innovation cooperation between Finland and China

After the pandemics closure, China has opened its borders. China is heavily investing in the innovation area, while looking for new growth and competitiveness after the challenging time period. Special focus in the national plans is on new infrastructures, new technologies and sustainability, including e.g. digital transformation of manufacturing industry, reforming the healthcare with smart solutions and aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060. This provides increasing amount of collaboration opportunities for Finnish companies.

Innovation
Collaboration

Business Finland has established numerous frameworks to support Finland-China innovation collaboration on both national and provincial level, including Ministry of Science and Technology of China as well as Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai municipality.

In the innovation area, we provide information sharing, organize innovation workshops, do matchmaking and networking, give advising/coaching and fund the most promising innovation-driven projects through joint innovation calls. Joint innovation calls provide opportunities not only for joint R&D and piloting targeting in market entries and expansion, but also e.g. for standards and regulation contributions in strategic collaboration projects.

Additionally, we support companies through Market Access Program (MAP) with Fudan and Tsinghua universities, and collaborate with different Accelerator Programs. It should be noted that Business Finland's FinChi Innovation Center located in Shanghai provides a soft-landing platform and related services for those companies who want to test whether their business and innovative approach can fly in China.

Innovation work in Business Finland China is done in close collaboration with people from innovation, foresight and export functions. We believe that innovations can help the current business to improve its competitiveness and that foresight can show the future opportunities to guide the innovation work – this continuum and two-way dialogue can pave the way for both economic growth and societal wellbeing.

From this China Innovation Collaboration page, you can find all the key information needed related to annual joint innovation and Market Access Program calls, innovation actions and accelerator programs as well as a summary of the eligibility, funding and submission issues concerning joint innovation calls. If something is missing, contact us and we will help you forward!

Think big and let us help you to boost your business with innovation!

Remarks on IPR

IPR is something that requires special attention when it comes to normal business but also when it comes to innovation and joint innovation projects. It is good to get familiar with trademark, patent, trade secret and copyright issues in China before entering collaboration actions with Chinese counterparts, considering that IP systems in Europe and China are different.

A good source of information is, e.g., European Commission's China IP SME Helpdesk pages. Their pages include webinars and e-learning options as well as factsheets and guides related to IP. Additionally, one can submit IP related questions and receive answers (free of charge) from the Helpdesk IP experts within 3 working days. Business Finland also regularly arranges business and innovation related IPR trainings, and in-depth business advise is available through the collaborator networks.

Remarks on China’s specific regulatory framework on data

Read the attached “China’s specific regulatory framework on data and how it impacts EU-China R&I collaboration” to know more about the recent regulatory changes that might affect your work or that are at least good to be aware of. The objective of the report prepared by the “EU Research and Innovation Knowledge Network on China” is to give an overview of applicable Chinese data laws which are relevant for the research and innovation sectors.

Remarks on China’s specific regulatory framework on data

Read also more about Cyber Security Law, Data Law and Personal Information Protection Law compliance from the business perspective for your reference, so that you are aware of the requirements that are applied if/when you aim to commercialize the RDI solutions in the China market or want to enter the China market in general with data-driven solutions.

Cybersecurity Data and Personal Information Compliance for EU SMEs in China 2022 (pdf)

Annual Clock

Innovation calls 2023

Shanghai Science &Technology innovation call (to be opened on 14 February, 2023, closing on 28 April, 2023)

Jiangsu Science & Technology joint innovation call (preliminary information: to be opened on 22 March, 2023; closing on 22 September, 2023)

Zhejiang Science & Technology joint innovation call (preliminary information: to be opened on 22 March, 2023; closing on 22 September, 2023)

MOST (Ministry of Science and Technology) joint innovation call (preliminary information: to be opened on 15 June, 2023; closing on 24 November, 2023 (earliest))

Market access program (MAP) Calls 2023

    • Fudan Market Access Program (MAP) call (open, closing on 27 October, 2023)

Tsinghua Market Access Program (MAP) call

Innovation actions 2023

  • Q2 (April-June):
    • Advising/coaching of the projects
    • Finland-Jiangsu Matchmaking Hybrid Event in May-June, 2023
    • Finland-Zhejiang Matchmaking Hybrid Event in May-June, 2023
    • MOST Innovation and MAP Calls Launching Webinar on 15.6.2023
    • Application submissions (Shanghai)

  • Q3 (July-September):
    • Advising/coaching of the projects
    • MOST Innovation Call Matchmaking Hybrid Event in September, 2023
    • Application submissions (Jiangsu, Zhejiang)

  • Q4 (October-December):
    • Advising/coaching of the projects
    • Application submissions (MOST, MAP Fudan, MAP Tsinghua)

Eligibility, funding and submissions

In the following, the main eligibility criteria, funding principles and submission information of the different Finland-China joint innovation calls are summarized. More specific information is indicated in the actual joint innovation call texts.

Eligibility

In all the Finland-China joint innovation calls, normal Business Finland eligibility criteria are applied. Moreover, eligible projects must include at least one Finnish partner and one Chinese partner – one side application only is not valid. Below, the main partner criteria related to the different calls are summarized.

The joint industrial R&D&I projects must be highly innovative and business oriented. The proposals should demonstrate applicant's resources for international collaboration, in case of the Finnish applicants especially for entering the Chinese markets. The proposal should demonstrate the contribution of the participants from both countries and the project must be balanced between participants and be significant to all partners.

The project partners should agree in advance on the IP rights and on the commercialization strategy of the product or process.

It is recommended to use the EU SME Center's "Are You Ready for China" self-diagnosis tool and European Commission's China IP SME Helpdesk pages for advice.

For more specific information about the eligibility, please see the actual joint innovation call texts related to MOST, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang collaboration.

Funding

In all the Finland-China joint innovation calls, normal Business Finland funding principles are applied. The Chinese side follows their own funding principles, the details of which should be consulted directly from them. Below, main funding remarks related to the different calls are summarized.

For more specific information about the funding, please see the actual joint innovation call texts related to MOST, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang collaboration.

Submissions

Both Finnish and Chinese sides must submit their own applications to their own countries and funding organizations indicated in the call texts. Furthermore, both sides should also fill in a call-specific Bilateral Cooperation Form including general details of the project.

In the Finland-China joint innovation calls with 1 phase, on the Finnish side normal Business Finland submission system is used.

In the Finland-China joint innovation calls with 2 phases, on the Finnish side idea applications must be sent to Business Finland's registry office via secure email and including a call-specific identifier in the subject. Later, for the full proposal submission, normal Business Finland submission system is used.

For more specific information about the submissions, please see the actual joint innovation call texts related to MOST, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang collaboration.

Checklist

Step I:
1. Carefully read the call text (incl. eligibility, funding and submission information)
2. Consider are you ready for China (resources, market understanding, regulation)
3. Think what you really want and need (market entry, partners, customers, R&D)
Consult Business Finland already during this step, if needed!

Step II:
4. Prepare an initial project idea/plan with content, objectives, resources and budget
5. Identify what competencies/contributions you need from the Chinese partner(s)
6. Come to discuss with Business Finland (your Account Manager at Business Finland or any of the call contacts)
Consult Business Finland latest during this step!

Step III:
7. Initially check the IPR issues and protect your trademark, products, etc. if needed
8. Participate matchmakings and identify potential partners
9. Create a joint plan and improve your own plans (consult Business Finland)
10. Consider jointly and individually whether to go for a submission
Consult Business Finland also during this step, if needed!

Step IV:
11. Finalize the needed documents and agreements (incl. IPR) for the submission – check that all requirements are completed (consult Business Finland)
12. Make the submission on time
Consult Business Finland before the submission!

Contact us

Region East Asia

Mika Klemettinen

Trade and Innovation Consul, Head of Shanghai Office
Shanghai, China
mika.klemettinen (at) businessfinland.fi
tel. +86 134 8274 6884

Region East Asia

Elisa Yu

Innovation Advisor
Shanghai, China
elisa.yu (at) businessfinland.fi
tel. +86 138 0174 4271

Finland

Maarit Kokko

Ecosystem Lead
maarit.kokko (at) businessfinland.fi
tel. +358 40 761 9555

Finland

Ilmari Absetz

Ecosystem Lead
ilmari.absetz (at) businessfinland.fi
+358 50 5577 837