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Home BUSINESSFinnish cleantech industry keeps growing despite sluggish economy
Thu, 15 May, 2014 12:43:46 AM
FTimes- Xinhua Report by Elina Xu, Li Jizhi, May 15
Affected by the weak global market demand, the export-oriented Finnish economy remained sluggish with GDP reducing by 1.4 percent in 2013.
The Finnish clean technology business achieved a growth by 5 percent last year, while paper-making, shipbuilding and some other traditional industries continued to decline.
According to the latest statistics issued by Cleantech Finland, the total turnover of the Finnish cleantech industry was up to 25.8 billion euros (35.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013, after a 15 percent surge in 2012.
"Urbanization and industrialization are global megatrends that cause significant environmental problems particularly in large growth markets like China and India," said Ilkka Homanen, director for cleantech industry of Finpro.
He added that these factors have created great global demand for Finnish cleantech expertise, in pace with environmental regulations being gradually developed in these countries.
A survey conducted by Cleantech Finland last year showed that 90 percent of participating companies intend to increase jobs in the next five years, 88 percent of them plan to expand into the emerging markets, and two thirds are going to invest more in the cleantech business, according to Kaisa Hernberg, executive director of Cleantech Finland.
Finnish cleantech companies have the world leading expertise in energy, material and water efficiency, bioenergy, biofuels, renewable energy, combined heat and power production and smart technologies.
In order to support the development of the cleantech industry, the Finnish government has made great investments, which have laid a solid foundation for the growth of the industry.
"Finnish technology industries in particular have found in cleantech significant opportunities for renewal," said Kaisu Annala, director of the cleantech strategy program at the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
Annala said that the aim of the Finnish government is to increase the total turnover of the Finnish cleantech industry to 50 billion euros and create 40 000 new jobs by 2020.
The Finnish cleantech industry is highly export-oriented. According to the survey, in 2013, the share of exports in the total turnover is 53 percent. Most of the products and services have been exported to Sweden, Germany, Russia, Britain and China.
The participating companies generally believed that the most promising markets in the next few years can be found in China.
Hernberg explained that since the Chinese government is investing heavily in environment, Finnish companies' interest in the emerging market is increasing.
Numerous Finnish cleantech companies made great progress in China last year. Oilon, for example, supplied 83 large-scale burners with a total value of 5 million euros to Beijing District Heating Company, for helping Beijing to replace coal combustion with natural gas.
In other parts of the world, the Finnish cleantech has also made breakthroughs. Kone applied its latest patented technology for the first time in a 195 meter tall tower in Singapore last year. The technology makes a breakthrough in energy efficiency in high-rise elevators, helping the tower to successfully "lose weight" and double the lifetime of a steel rope.
In addition, Metso built Asia's largest biomass plant in Dangjin city, South Korea, and Fortum constructed the first power plant in Baltic region that uses municipal waste and biomass as fuels.
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