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Case 21.08.2019

Tsinghua FinLab program opens route to the Chinese market

Many Finnish companies are eyeing up the vast potential of the Chinese market. Caidio Oy, a participant in Business Finland's Tsinghua FinLab program, shows that even a small startup can succeed in breaking into the Chinese market.
More information and applications
Sari Paavilainen

+358 50 3955 396
sari.paavilainen (at) businessfinland.fi

Founded in Otaniemi in 2018, Caidio develops AI-based software and IoT sensors that improve the quality management and efficiency of concrete construction as well as reducing the environmental impact of the industry. By gathering and analysing data from the concrete plant automation system, concrete truck systems and the construction site, it is possible to identify potential quality issues in time and to ensure that the quality of the concrete remains optimal throughout the production and transport chain.

Caidio has from the beginning set its aim on the international markets of which China is by far the biggest and most attractive.

"About 60% of global concrete construction takes place in China, so we wanted to map out its market potential. However, China is a challenging and different market compared to Finland," says Caidio's CEO Aku Wilenius, who is also one of the company's founding members.

Local know-how for market research

Caidio was accepted to Business Finland's Tsinghua Finlab program which provides Finnish companies with practical market information about China and advice for developing a business plan and solving operational challenges. In the framework of the program, students from the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management prepare a market entry plan for the company, which also becomes their MBA dissertation.

"The cooperation started smoothly because we quickly went on location to meet the professor of the teaching program, the contact persons and teams. It was a positive surprise that two MBA groups wanted to take on our market entry plan as their project. We established communications groups through which we have been able to exchange information with everyone in real time," Wilenius explains.

New partner enables first pilot site

In Spring 2019, one of the teams found a local partner company for Caidio in the same field, which also opened up the first pilot site.

"We've been working together according to a model where Caidio produces the AI and instrumentation part of the solution and the partner implements the IT and automation system required around it," says Wilenius.

The pilot site is also a potential customer which is currently constructing a new, modern concrete production facility in the city of Xi'an, China. The output of this single plant will be greater than annual concrete production in Finland as a whole.

"They want to be a showcase for modern concrete production, which means that we can demonstrate our know-how through a pilot in the Chinese market. It is a huge opportunity for us if the pilot project and the cooperation proceed in the way we hope."

Success requires commitment

In June 2019, Caidio invited both Tsinghua FinLab teams to Finland to report on their work, findings and recommendations.

"These are extremely smart and internationally oriented MBA students who already have a lot of work experience. It's great to work with them," says Wilenius.

He recommends the Tsinghua FinLab program to Finnish companies that are prepared to fully commit themselves to the cooperation.

"If you really want to grow your business and build relationships in China, then you need to be on the ground and show the Chinese people, companies and also these students that you are serious and interested. Building trust through networks and relationships matters a great deal."

Apply now

Application period for Tsinghua FinLab program is open until the end of October. Read more about the program.

Application period for Fudan iLab program is also open and your company needs to apply by the end of September. Read more about the program.