Diplomatic relations between China and Norway were normalized in December 2016 after a six-year hiatus. Both countries are renewing their commitment to one another and building on their strong partnership which dates back to 1950.
"Since the normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries, Chinese businesses have shown increased interest in Norway", says Finn Kr. Aamodt, Director of Invest in Norway, the governmental investment promotion agency of Norway. "High-level delegations from China are actively exploring investment opportunities in Norway".
Chinese investors are looking into business openings in Norway’s data-centers, electric-mobility, renewable energy, processing industries and health-technology sectors.
"Chinese companies are keen to partner with players in our health-technology sector," explains Anita Moe Larsen, Head of Communications for Norway Health Tech, a cluster aiming to become one of the most innovative global health-technology clusters by 2020.
"With the highest electric-vehicle penetration in the world, Norway is at the forefront of electric-mobility and is also leading developments in zero-emission transport at sea," adds Aamodt.
Norway has over thirty government-funded clusters encouraging cooperation between industry and research and development.
As Norwegian companies reach out to China as a secondary market, China is looking at "new" sectors in the Norwegian economy with which to engage.
As an investment destination, Norway’s strengths include economic and political stability, highly-developed infrastructure and a wealth of natural resources including oil, gas, marine and forestry.
Pillars of the Norwegian economy remain petroleum, maritime, energy and seafood, and "ease of doing business" polls annually rank Norway amongst the top ten in the world.
Norway is considered to be one of the most "digitalized" countries and the World Economic Forum ranks Norway as the eleventh most competitive country in the world. In the Human Development Index, Norway is annually ranked in first position.
Historically, shipping and fisheries have played a key role in Sino-Norwegian relations and both industries continue to bring China and Norway closer together.
"For decades, China has been very important to our maritime industry and to our ship-owners", says outgoing CEO, Sturla Henriksen of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.
"Today, four of every ten Norwegian ships are built in Chinese shipyards and our cooperation in ‘green-shipping’ has led to innovative solutions for the industry. Considering our interests in the Arctic sea trading route, there is a great deal we can achieve together as complementary partners".
A shift in China’s consumption patterns and the population’s growing purchasing power have led to increased demand for quality seafood in the Chinese market. Today Norwegian seafood exporters see China as an even more important export market.
"The normalization of our diplomatic relations has been crucial to companies looking to gain market access to China, the world’s largest seafood market", explains Sigmund Bjørgo, Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council in China.
"Since November 2017, significant amounts of Norwegian salmon have been sold in the Chinese market and we expect this trend to continue. As the world’s second largest seafood exporter, we are seeing strong sales of cod, mackerel, capelin, red fish, halibut and other species".
Across all major industries, the normalization of relations between Norway and China has been beneficial for both countries. With high-level business delegations planning to visit Norway this year and a free-trade agreement framework under discussion, both countries are working towards a "Golden-era" of Sino-Norwegian relations.