In recent years, business and tourism links between China and Finland have been growing fast in both directions. For example, the number of visitors from China increased faster than from any other country during Finland’s record-breaking tourism year in 2017.
In response to the growing numbers of people travelling between the two countries, the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki decided to establish a separate visa centre with the aim of improving the quality and speed of its services. State-owned company China International Travel Service (CITS) opened the new visa centre in Helsinki in June 2018. Conveniently located in the Kamppi district of downtown Helsinki, the visa centre serves both business and leisure travellers.
Business Finland’s Invest in Finland unit and Helsinki Business Hub have worked closely with CITS throughout the process of setting up operations in Helsinki. In October 2017, Invest in Finland’s team in China met with CITS in Beijing to get the ball rolling for the first time.
“They provided extensive information related to how to start business in Finland, from Finnish FDI policy and regulation down to small details. Through Business Finland’s professional networks, we were able to build a connection with professional local law firms before our first visit to Finland, which facilitated the registration of the company in Helsinki,” says Mr. Fang Lu, General Manager, CITS V Service (Finland) Oy.
When the CITS team arrived in Finland, Invest in Finland’s China desk arranged meetings with different partners regarding legal, financial and recruitment issues.
“Invest in Finland accompanied us and helped to secure our new visa centre office rental. We highly appreciate Invest in Finland’s great support during the whole process, through which we understand how Finland warmly welcomes foreign investment. The professional and efficient team at Business Finland is truly bridging and enhancing friendship between Finland and China,” says Fang Lu.
The modern, customer-oriented visa center in Helsinki currently employs seven people.
“In addition to our excellent location in Kamppi, we make optimal use of network technology with online information, consultation, form completion and status queries. In order to reduce waiting times, we use an online appointment system. Our on-site staff is always available to help and guide applicants, and we provide specialized services for travel agencies and physically challenged applicants. Furthermore, we have invested in rapid technical support and service quality monitoring,” explains Lu Fang in an interview with Helsinki Business Hub.
Boosting business and tourism
Finland and China have very stable relationship between the two nations.
“We have observed significant increase in bilateral investment, alongside trade and tourism, during the past a few years. As a natural consequent, both two countries have met the common challenges how to satisfy the fast increase of visa demands with limited resources,” says Bin Zhu Head of Investing Operations in Greater China.
“Finland has started its outsourced visa center service (Visa Application Center) with an international company VFS in China in 2015. The target of the collaboration is to improve the visa handling efficiency. Partially encouraged by this Finnish success in China, the new Chinese visa center is also an evidence to the constant fast development in the great collaboration between the two nations”, concludes Bin Zhu.
China International Travel Service (CITS) is a state-owned Chinese travel agency, which provides services for Finnish in applying and obtaining their visas in streamlined manner to China. CITS operates 20 visa centers worldwide.
Head of Investing Operations in Greater China
Invest in Finland
tel: +86 1360 1790 666