Since 2010, the EU SME Centre in China has been providing high-quality business support services to help companies to seize the opportunities and face the challenges of the Chinese market. On 1 July 2022, its new Phase IV started.
Trade and investment between the EU and China have been growing at a fast pace. Indeed, China is a promising and fast-developing but complex market. On the one hand, its dynamic business environment constantly creates new business opportunities. On the other hand, its fast-changing business environment prevents foreign companies, above all SMEs, from benefitting from that broad range of business opportunities.
The EU intends to ensure mutually beneficial economic relations with China, through the respect of a level playing field for all companies in line with the rule-based multilateral order. Considering the economic potential and size of the Chinese market, the extent of difficulties faced by SMEs in accessing that market and the gaps in existing first-line business support services for SMEs, since 2008 the European Union has been funding the EU-SME Centre in China.
EU SME Centre Phase III, funded by the COSME programme, started in October 2020 and ended in June 2022. Phase IV, funded by the Single Market Programme (SMP), has just started and will run for 36 months.
The main goals of the EU-SME Centre in China are:
- Assisting European SMEs in assessing their readiness to enter the Chinese market and providing advice on opportunities and risks of establishing and developing a commercial presence in the Chinese market (through exports, investments or both);
- Improving synergies and sharing best practice at the European, national and regional business association levels, including collaboration with other EU-funded projects, with the ultimate goal to benefit the target SMEs intending to do business in China;
- Strengthening the advocacy activities of the EU business community.
Consequently, the activities of Centre target the following groups:
SMEs from EU as well as from COSME (phase III) and SMP (phase IV) participating countries; Business support organisations and intermediaries from the above-mentioned countries, both in China and Europe; European Union Delegation to China and Market Access Teams, European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), EU and COSME/SMP countries’ Chambers of Commerce (with focus on those without a presence in China).
During phase IV, the Centre will continue to support target SMEs and its partners by updating and upgrading its business support services as well as by offering new ones, in line with the new EU policy priorities.
In this new chapter, the strategic development and management of the EU SME Centre will be implemented by four consortium partners and two associated partners – the China-Italy Chamber of Commerce (CICC), the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), Italy China Council Foundation (ICCF), Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI), Trade Promotion Europe (TPE), and the EU-China Business Association (EUCBA), bringing an unprecedented mix of relevant and complementary expertise and network to the EU SME Centre, with headquarters in Europe and in China.