In November 2021, the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC) extended its structural partnership with Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) until 2026. BCECC interviewed Peter Tanghe, Science & Technology Counselor of Flanders Investment & Trade in Guangzhou.
With his engineering and business administration background and many years of working experience in the tech industry and in China, Peter is a key witness of China’s recent rise in technology and an important factor in helping Flanders’ tech companies to grasp this opportunity.
Every 5 years, China releases its Five-Year-Plans. The most recent one is the 14th Five-Year-Plan from 2021 to 2025, outlining China’s ambitions to become a world-leading technology force, focusing on innovation, automation and a higher value-added, more secure and reliable industrial supply chain. In order to fulfil China’s ambition to become a world-leading innovator by 2035, the plan promotes self-reliance and self-improvement in science and technology as strategic action items.
According to Peter, China wants to achieve its objective of growing GDP per capita from middle-income to high-income status by using technology to further increase productivity of its core industries. China’s digital and green infrastructure (such as 5G, digital currency, electric vehicles, renewable energy, etc.) are growing faster than in the EU or the USA.
However, to achieve those ambitious goals, China still needs foreign expertise and products where there is a technology gap or lack of experience with industrial or business-to-business cases. The recent increased ‘decoupling’ from US technology offers opportunities for European tech companies.
In 2021, Flanders Investment & Trade set up a Science & Technology Office in Guangzhou’s Greater Bay Area, to support collaboration opportunities for Flanders’ tech companies across China and attract R&D investment from China.
The Science & Technology Office covers 3 different technology domains:
- Digital Tech: Flanders is home to the world-leading nanotechnology research centre imec and a semiconductor and photonics eco-system, as well as to a rising generation of digital and artificial intelligence scale-ups, that have been built on the local entrepreneurship and talent from its universities.
- Climate Tech: Technology from Flanders’ companies, universities and research centres such as VITO, supports offshore wind, solar and geothermal energy projects as well as advancements in battery technology and carbon neutral buildings.
- Health Tech: Flanders has a leading position in Life Sciences as a global export hub for COVID-19 vaccines, has hundreds of pioneering biotech and life science companies, the leading biotech and agrofood research institute and incubator VIB, ranks number 1 in Europe in clinical trials per capita and its excellent healthcare system is being transformed by leading digital health and medtech companies.
Health Tech is probably one of the most interesting segments and offers license-in and license-out opportunities for Flemish biotech and biopharma companies, as well as an active interest from leading China biotech companies for clinical trial developments in the EU.
In this respect, Peter introduced three hybrid matchmaking events with distributors and licensing partners in the year 2022:
- China Medical Equipment Fair in Shanghai from 7 – 10 April 2022
- ChinaBio in Beijing, 10 – 11 May 2022
- BioCentury Health Summit in Shanghai, November 2022.
Furthermore, as soon as travel restrictions are lifted, Flanders Investment & Trade plans to organize a Flanders Life Science and Health mission to China.
For more information, please contact Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) or the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC) and follow the official WeChat account of the BCECC.