Nor­way as Test Mar­ket of The World

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Foreword - ANRIKE VISSER

Nor­way or­way was in­creas­ingly be­com­ing an in­ter­est­ing coun­try for in­vest­ments. “That’s why we estab­lished In­vest in Nor­way in 2013 to sup­port com­pa­nies con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing in Nor­way”, ex­plains Mr Finn Kris­tian Aamodt, Di­rec­tor of In­vest in Nor­way. Mr Aamodt con­tin­ues to ex­plain the rea­sons for this grow­ing in­ter­est. “Three ar­eas are es­pe­cially ex­tremely al­lur­ing to for­eign com­pa­nies. First of all, there’s clean en­ergy. Nor­way has an abun­dance of clean en­ergy and that is what the world needs right now. Nor­way is part of the solution to the en­ergy cri­sis the world faces right now. So, data cen­tres or any types of power in­ten­sive in­dus­tries can be set up in Nor­way. Se­condly, we see a lot of in­ter­est from com­pa­nies in au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles or elec­tri­cal cars. Nor­way func­tions as a test bed for any­one work­ing with elec­tri­cal cars. As an ex­am­ple, Siemens re­cently set up a bat­tery fac­tory in Nor­way. And lastly, we have a lot of in­no­va­tion in health care. Nor­way has a high amount of highly ed­u­cated peo­ple.”

Com­pa­nies all around the world ex­press in­ter­est ac­cord­ing to Mr Aamodt. Specif­i­cally, a high in­ter­est have been shown by Asian com­pa­nies

Bi­lat­eral com­mit­ment

“The re­cent Nor­we­gian del­e­ga­tion to Bei­jing and Shang­hai was a great suc­cess. More than 240 Nor­we­gian del­e­gates at­tended from pol­i­tics and busi­ness; the big­gest del­e­ga­tion I have ever wit­nessed since I started work­ing for In­no­va­tion Nor­way in 1999. Among them 14 Nor­we­gian CEOs from amongst oth­ers Sta­toil, Yara and Te­lenor.

On the Chi­nese side there was also a big com­mit­ment with over 700 po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness del­e­gates in Bei­jing at­tend­ing and more than 500 in Shang­hai.” As an ex­am­ple, Mr Aamodt men­tions Mr Jack Ma, Founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man of the Alibaba and coun­tries. One or­gan­i­sa­tion al­ready reap­ing the ben­e­fits of the Nor­we­gian mar­ket and know-how is Huawei. This telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant op­er­ates in Nor­way as tech­nol­ogy provider for Te­lenor’s mo­bile net­work. The suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion could be one of many with re­cent de­vel­op­ments point­ing to an in­ten­si­fied col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween China and Nor­way.

Group who was one of the key­note speak­ers.

The many high level at­ten­dees sig­nals the im­por­tance both coun­tries gave to this event. And they all met and talked busi­ness for the next few days dur­ing nine so-called break-out ses­sions for spe­cific top­ics.

“There are many in­dus­tries where Nor­way has com­ple­men­tary tech­nol­ogy and know-how to the Chi­nese com­pa­nies,” Mr Aamodt con­tin­ues. There were break-out ses­sions about the dig­i­tal mar­ket­place, green shift, start-ups, health tech­nol­ogy, tourism and seafood. And it didn’t end at just talk­ing. Dur­ing the meet­ing, 19 deals were signed val­ued at NOK 20 bil­lion. “We’re head­ing for in­ter­est­ing times,” Mr Aamodt con­cludes. Im­por­tance of in­vest­ments

In­vest in Nor­way was estab­lished to han­dle the in­creas­ing in­flux of in­vest­ments com­ing into the coun­try. “We needed a bet­ter way to han­dle the flow when the in­ter­est in Nor­way in­creased,” Mr Aamodt ex­plains. “Also af­ter the oil shock there was a strong need to ex­plore other op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est avail­able data by Sta­tis­tics Nor­way “for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment into Nor­way was NOK 1.218 bil­lion at the end of 2015; a one per cent de­crease from the year be­fore. Dur­ing 2015, the Nor­we­gian cur­rency, the krone, de­pre­ci­ated against al­most all for­eign cur­ren­cies.” This might have at least partly contributed to the de­crease. At the same time, “the in­ward in­vest­ments from for­eign in­vestors re­ceived an in­come of 7.4 per cent in 2015.”

The web­site of In­vest in Nor­way high­lights the gov­ern­ment’s will­ing­ness to wel­come for­eign in­vest­ments. “Nor­way has al­ways been open to for­eign in­vest­ments. There are about 6,000 for­eign-owned lim­ited com­pa­nies in Nor­way with many ad­di­tional branch of­fices. For­eign com­pa­nies rep­re­sent about 25% of all value-cre­ation in Nor­way and about 20% of the em­ploy­ment. Nor­way had a strong growth of for­eign in­vest­ments dur­ing the last decade, com­pared to many other coun­tries.” Nor­we­gian ease

Nor­way is an in­ter­est­ing coun­try for for­eign com­pa­nies for a broad range of rea­sons. “We are ranked in the top ten of 189 coun­tries on Ease of do­ing Busi­ness by the World Bank. This is an­nu­ally ranked and we have been in the top for sev­eral years now. We are num­ber 4 on the IMD World Tal­ent Re­port. Nor­way ranked among the best on the World Com­pet­i­tive­ness Score­board and is even first on the an­nual Hu­man De­vel­op­ment In­dex mak­ing it a great place to live as well.

The rea­son for most of these scores is that we are a small and trans­par­ent econ­omy. We also rank low on cor­rup­tion. A deal in Nor­way is trusted. We have sta­ble poli­cies so you have pre­dictabil­ity in term of your in­vest­ments. This is a solid frame­work for do­ing busi­ness. All in all, there are no big sur­prises or hid­den is­sues to worry about. It’s a very open busi­ness community and also an open po­lit­i­cal community.

Ad­di­tion­ally, we have a pop­u­la­tion of 5.2 mil­lion with the sec­ond high­est GDP per capita in Europe.” Specif­i­cally Nor­way’s GDP in 2016 was USD 70,400 per capita in cur­rent prices of 31 May 2017; the sec­ond largest of Europe af­ter Lux­em­bourg ac­cord­ing to the World Eco­nomic Out­look Data­base, April 2017 of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

Mr Aamodt con­tin­ues, “Many com­pa­nies in­vest and pro­duce in Nor­way and sell to the world. For high en­ergy mar­kets Nor­way may not be a big enough mar­ket, but for other prod­ucts it def­i­nitely is like elec­tri­cal ve­hi­cles. Many of the com­pa­nies that are in elec­tri­cal ve­hi­cles re­ally look at Nor­way to see what’s go­ing on there. Nor­way is a good test mar­ket to learn how other mar­kets might re­spond in a few years.

Ad­di­tion­ally, it only takes one or two days to set up a com­pany in Nor­way; it’s very sim­ple, very easy and very af­ford­able. The more im­por­tant ques­tion is: is this the right place to be? De­cid­ing that could take years. Not be­cause it takes years to set up a busi­ness, but it takes time to de­cide if you’re do­ing the right thing. You prob­a­bly want to com­pare Nor­way to other coun­tries and that process takes time. But from the mo­ment you de­cide Nor­way it the place to go to, it doesn’t take long. In any case, we will sup­port the com­pany all the way.” Help­ing hand

In­vest in Nor­way helps busi­nesses ex­plore the op­por­tu­ni­ties in Nor­way. “We see a steady inflow of more in­ter­est from es­pe­cially China to Nor­way. And we’re proac­tive when it comes to look­ing for com­pa­nies that might be a good fit to Nor­way. We or­gan­ise many types of in­vest­ments sem­i­nars in China for ex­am­ple, but com­pa­nies also reach out to us on their own ac­cord. So, any­one in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing in Nor­way should con­tact us, any of our of­fices in Asia, or the Nor­we­gian em­bassies for that mat­ter. We will help you with your busi­ness case. We have a good net­work in dif­fer­ent . com­mu­ni­ties to make sure you meet the right peo­ple and the right in­dus­tries in Nor­way.”

PHOTO: IN­NO­VA­TION NOR­WAY

In­vest in Nor­way is an in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion func­tion within In­no­va­tion Nor­way of the Nor­we­gian the gov­ern­ment.

PHOTO: HY­DRO/ØYVIND BREIVIK

Above left: Head of In­vest in Nor­way, Finn Kris­tian Aamodt. Above: Crane op­er­a­tor at Hy­dro's Kar­møy Tech­nol­ogy Pi­lot con­struc­tion site.

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