Dutch companies have had an interest in China going as far back as the 17th Century—and this long-standing relationship between the two countries remains strong. “Today, the Netherlands is the tenth-largest investor in China worldwide, and the third largest European investor,” according to Tommie Linders, who is Vice President of Research Project Maastricht (RPM).
RPM is a non-profit project that is supported by Maastricht University (UM). Since 1989, RPM has conducted company-specific research in emerging economies, including Brazil, Vietnam and India. The 2016 project, set to being in January and run for four months, will focus on China.
The project mostly works with multinationals and SME companies originating from the Netherlands. “We select and approach companies based on their interest in China,” Linders explains. “When a company is interested in a collaboration, we write a proposal about a market research we intent to do in collaboration with this company.”
Twelve carefully selected participants—UM graduating bachelor’s and master’s students from various disciplines—will conduct quality research for Dutch companies in China. “By doing this,” Linders says, “we aspire to meet the unique demands of our partner companies. These companies subsequently receive first-hand, in-depth market information delivering business solutions to their respective needs.
There are currently several companies set to work with RPM on their 2016 project, but according to Linders they are still interested in forming additional collaborations with others. “If your company is interested in expanding into the Chinese market, but you still have pending research questions in which RPM can be of value, do not hesitate to contact us,” Linders says.
There were several reasons China was selected as the destination for RPM 2016. “Foremost, China has become very interesting for a wider variety of businesses due to its increasingly wealthy consumer market and not solely as a production hub,” according to Linders. “Simultaneous efforts by the government to open up the market, as well as improvements in the infrastructure and overlapping sectors of excellence with the Netherlands, guarantee unprecedented possibilities and a thriving business climate for a wide range of Dutch enterprises.”
Participating students are currently preparing for their four month’s in China by studying language and business culture. “The UM Language Centre provides us with a basic language course and insight in the Chinese culture through a semester-long course,” Linders explains. “But apart from a language course, we have been trained by widely recognized consultancy firms like BCG, McKinsey, Roland Berger and KPMG.”
The benefits of RPM16 should be mutually beneficial, according to Linders. “Dutch companies are not only focusing on the economically-developed coastal region of China, but also on the rapidly-developing part of the country,” he says. “We think that this relationship is sustainable and good for all parties, and we look forward to being a part of it.”
If your company is interested in participating in RPM16, or to learn more about the project, contact Tommie Linders at email@example.com or call 042-3883931 during office hours.
In this video, presenter William Overbosch, SBE alum and founder of the Dutch Network Group, talks to Clara Hoekman and Gilles Vromman of Research Project Maastricht (RPM) about getting Dutch and Belgian companies a foothold in China.