Opening Ceremony of Pujiang Innovation Forum, Shanghai, China

Your Excellencies Minister Wan Gang,

President of Pujiang Innovation Forum Mr. Xu,

Vice Governor of Sichuan Province Mr. Liu,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Knowledge and innovation are strategic tools for success in the global economy. Our countries success depends on innovative talents and on our companies’ ability to innovate.

Finland is an innovation-led economy and society. For a small and resource poor country innovating has been our way forward and has enabled us to become a success story.

Not more than half a century ago Finland was a quite poor agrarian country. But Finland managed to make an economic turnaround and quickly became a highly developed economy. The fast industrialization created a foundation for our society’s innovation capabilities. Ever since, a strong focus on innovations has been a long-term strategic choice for our nation.

China, having invented groundbreaking technologies such as paper, the compass and gunpowder, has a glorious history in the field of innovations.

Finland’s core capabilities include highly educated people, high investments in R&D and a consistent innovation policy. Close cooperation between government, academia and the private sector is the cornerstone of the Finnish concept.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The long relationship between Finland and China has always been excellent. Over the years our relations have developed into a very strong partnership. We are delighted to see Finland as the Country of Honor in this year´s Pujiang Innovation Forum. China is a very important partner for Finland in both science and technology cooperation.

The very nature of the global economy challenges us each and every day. In addressing these challenges, we believe that education, research and innovation form the only sustainable basis for the renewal of the economy.

The reality of business life has shown that if a leading position is taken for granted, your competitors will surprise you by taking the lead. This we Finns know all too well from our own experience in the ICT-sector. As for business this is likewise true for whole societies. Even societies must continuously renew themselves to stay ahead.

Innovativeness is not only a question for new companies, but at least equally important is the renewal of existing companies. Just to mention one example, the forest industry, one of the traditional strongholds in Finland, is actively widening its business opportunities in the field of bioeconomy. Later, the CEO of UPM Mr. Pesonen will showcase this development.

I believe that innovation cannot be taught because the very core of innovation is that you create something no one has done before. But we can create a suitable environment for innovations by prioritizing education, further strengthening public-private-partnerships and by encouraging creativity. Furthermore, our efforts must be based on determined strategies and choices.

In our country we seem to be on a right track. Finland has quickly grown into a world-famous start-up nation thanks to a couple of global success stories such as gaming companies Rovio with their Angry Birds and Supercell, which recently got a huge 1,5 billion dollar investment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This spring President Xi and President Niinistö agreed on developing a new partnership between Finland and China. We are delighted that President Xi proposed Investments, Innovations, Cleantech and Urbanization as the focus areas for our future cooperation.

It is an honor for us Finns to be here at the Pujiang Innovation Forum today. I am looking forward to our Country of Honor workshop in the afternoon. We will then continue our dialogue and share practical examples of innovation cooperation between Finland and China in the spirit of our topic “Blue sky, white clouds – Knowledge drives success”. I am sure that today’s inspiring atmosphere and discussions will once again become a milestone in our common efforts to build prosperous and harmonious societies for our citizens.

Thank you, Xie Xie!