MORE than 200 small and medium enterprises from China and the Netherlands gathered in Rotterdam on Tuesday for their first-ever match-making party designed to expand bilateral cooperation in agriculture and the food industry.
The SMEs, including about 150 Dutch and 60-plus Chinese firms from a wide range of sectors such as seed cultivation, greenhouse technology, automation technology, dairy production, aquaculture and biological control, agreed on 196 cooperation intentions during the gathering in this biggest European port city.
A representative of the Dutch company Lely Group, which is famous for its milking robot, said the company has been trying to export machinery to China in the last four years and the match-making event proved to be a good chance for them to further explore potential Chinese partners.
“We are here to meet people. We know that the dairy industry is getting more and more important in China. Of course we want to play a part in this development, as a supplier of automatic systems,” said Marcel van Leeuwen, the group’s international business manager.
The Chinese SMEs were mainly from China’s biggest agricultural provinces like Henan and Jilin as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
A representative of a Chinese milk producer, who only gave his surname as Qu, said he wished to bring Dutch cheese-making technology to his hometown in Jilin. If possible, he would also try to raise Dutch Holstein cows there.
“We’ve found a partner who showed great interest. We are still in the discussion process and will continue our talks in the afternoon. The Netherlands has world-leading cheese-making technologies and is also famous for cattle breeding and its herd management systems. I think it is worth coming here,” Qu said.
The Bank of China, the organizer of the event, also joined the match-making talks. It took the opportunity to promote its cross-border yuan financing products and offered consultation services to both Chinese and Dutch SMEs.
A financial institution should invest to bring enterprises together and create more cooperation opportunities for them, said Wang Jian, head of the bank’s SME services.
“Only eying immediate income or profits is a too narrow vision. Clients’ needs and benefits must be given a priority,” Wang said.
“Chinese SMEs have not yet enough ability to go international. They need a national bank to help them enter the international market and get connected with their partners in foreign countries.”