China's ICT industry update

This country outlook is part of a short series of introducing priority sectors that Team Finland China has chosen for 2022. Team Finland China is a network of public actors and Finnish business chambers in China. The network promotes Finland and its interests abroad: the internationalization of Finnish enterprises, investments in Finland, and the country brand. In total, there are nine focus areas, in which Team Finland actors proactively plan their activities, to help Finnish companies to enter China and grow in Chinese market. Team Finland China priority sectors for 2022 are 1) ICT, 2) food and agro, 3) health technology, 4) energy, 5) bio economy, chemicals and built environment, 6) metal and machinery, 7) maritime, 8) education (incl. research and talent boost) and 9) winter sports.

Photo: Sakari Piippo, Finland Promotion Board

ICT is one of China’s strategic industry sectors. It amounts over EUR 620 billion market (in 2021, YoY +9%) and continues growing. Over the past 20 years, China has achieved global leadership in many areas of ICT through systematically investing into its domestic industry base. 14th five-year plan introduced a “Digital China” concept, which covers several critical areas, such as cyberspace, the development of digital economy, society and government.

ICT has traditionally been one of the lead industries for Finland in China. This position has been gradually eroding at increasing pace during the recent years. Several Finnish companies still have a significant presence in China (e.g. Nokia) and investments into the market take place (e.g. Tieto EVRY acquisition of SW division of Ericsson in Nanjing). In short-to-medium term, Finnish technology continues to have growth opportunities in traditional ICT market in China, but at the same time new growth areas need to be identified and developed such as smart vehicles, manufacturing, energy and maritime. The sweet-spot between China‘s demand for foreign know-how and technology will be in digitalization of so called “traditional industries”.

In Hong Kong, main priority area is property technology, also known as smart building and built environment solutions. It covers all building related technical (digital) solutions contributing to energy, water and electricity consumption and reduction of CO2 emissions, and offers good opportunities in the area where Finland already has a strong, long-standing expertise. The second priority area is digital entertainment and e-sports. For Finnish companies’ two focus areas to create new opportunities include 1) fintech (cyber) and 2) talents, both in terms of attracting experts to Finland and cooperating at local level.

ICT market requires close monitoring and foreign companies should be prepared for increasing challenges for foreign players to compete if China’s emphasis on self-reliance continues.

Justin Di
Senior Advisor (ICT, General Market Advice)
Business Finland in Beijing, China
+86 139 1007 2580