LEGO wins copyright case against Chinese BELA products

The LEGO Group announced 7. December that they have received a favorable decision from China Shantou Intermediate People’s Court in September, holding that certain BELA products overstepped the copyrights of the LEGO Group and that manufacturing and selling of those products were acts of unfair competition.

It is the first time the LEGO Group has filed and won an anti-unfair competition case against imitators in China.

The case was filed against two Chinese companies, which had been manufacturing and selling products that were almost identical to LEGO products. The decisions come into effect in November 2017.

The court decided that the two Chinese companies must stop copying the packaging and logos of LEGO products in the future, as this constitutes copyright infringement. The court also decided that the LEGO Group enjoys protection under Chinese anti-unfair competition laws for the distinctive and unique appearance of certain decorative aspects of its packaging across certain product lines (in this case, LEGO Friends), which serves the purpose of making consumers immediately recognize and associate the products with the LEGO Group.

“We are pleased with the ruling by Shantou Intermediate People’s Court, which we see as a strong indication of the continued focus on proper intellectual property protection and enforcement by the Chinese courts and responsible authorities. We think this is very important for the continued development of a favorable business environment for all companies operating in the Chinese market,” Peter Thorslund Kjær, Vice President, Legal Affairs in the LEGO Group, said.

Furthermore, Peter Thorslund Kjær assured that they will continue to ensure that people are able to make informed choices when they are buying toy products, so they are not misled by toy products, appearing as something that they are not.

Hong Kong: ninth-most expensive place to be an expat

After dropping out of the top-ten in 2016, Hong Kong is now the world’s ninth-most expensive location for expatriates. In the Asia-Pacific region it is the second-most expensive location, only topped by Tokyo, Japan, which also comes in at number eight in the world. The list was recently released by the ECA international, which includes rankings of over 260 places worldwide.

“Hong Kong has now overtaken cities in Japan to reclaim its place in the top ten most expensive locations. Faster rates of price increases in Hong Kong combined with a strengthening of the dollar against the yen both contributed to Hong Kong leapfrogging many of the Japanese locations that were ranked above it last year.” Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International said.

Asian cities dominate the list of top 50 most expensive locations, making up over half the entries. Other Asian cities in the top 20 in the world are Seoul (11), Shanghai (12), Beijing (16), Yokohama (18), Nagoya (19), and Osaka (20). The three last Japanese cities were all in top-ten last year.

Singapore has fallen in the rankings and is now the 21st most expensive city surveyed. This is the first time since 2014 that Singapore has not featured in the top 20.

Three Scandinavian cities are also to find in the top-20: Oslo (7), Stavanger (10), and Copenhagen (14).

The most expensive city in the world for expats is Angola’s capital Luanda:

“The cost of goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda, which was already high due to poor infrastructure and high oil-fuelled demand, continues to be pushed even higher. The Angolan kwanza is increasingly overvalued, which pushes up relative costs; while the ongoing weakness of the black-market exchange rate has also inflated the price of imported goods,” Lee Quane explained.

ECA International is the world’s leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world. ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years. It carries out two cost of living surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees’ spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 262 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

Global top 20 most expensive locations
Location 2017 ranking 2016 ranking
Luanda 1 2
Khartoum 2 21
Zurich 3 3
Geneva 4 4
Basel 5 6
Bern 6 8
Oslo 7 14
Tokyo 8 1
Hong Kong 9 11
Stavanger 10 20
Seoul 11 12
Shanghai 12 13
Tel Aviv 13 19
Copenhagen 14 23
Jerusalem 15 22
Beijing 16 15
Kinshasa 17 10
Yokohama 18 5
Nagoya 19 7
Osaka 20 9
Top 20 most expensive locations in Asia-Pacific region
Location 2017 ranking 2016 ranking
Tokyo 1 1
Hong Kong 2 5
Seoul 3 6
Shanghai 4 7
Beijing 5 8
Yokohama 6 2
Nagoya 7 3
Osaka 8 4
Singapore 9 9
Busan 10 10
Guangzhou 11 11
Ulsan 12 12
Macau 13 13
Shenzhen 14 14
Taipei 15 15
Chengdu 16 17
Dalian 17 16
Qingdao 18 21
Nanjing 19 18
Xi’an 20 22

Aller Aqua inaugurated Qingdao aquaculture factory

On the 31 October Aller Aqua Group inaugurated its sixth factory – Aller Aqua Qingdao factory.

Anders C. Bylling is the Managing Director of Aller Aqua Qingdao and son of Hans Erik Bylling. Anders explains that the process of building a factory in China has been long. “We have had some delays along the way, but we reached our goal. Our Chinese team has worked exceptionally hard to have everything ready for the inauguration. It has been a very good day with almost 200 participants for the opening itself, and almost 300 participants to the International Cold Fish Aquaculture Technology Seminar we organized the day before.”

The factory in China will focus on the growing cold-water species aquaculture industry in China. And it has therefore been natural for Aller Aqua Qingdao to facilitate the first International Cold Fish Aquaculture Technology Seminar on the 30th October in Qingdao. The host of the seminar was the renowned Heilongijang River Fisheries Research Institute (HRFRI) of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Science. The program included many interesting speakers from both China and Europe, a visit to Aller Aqua Qingdao and concludes with a shuttle bus to China Fishery Expo.

Aller Aqua Qingdao will have a production capacity of 45000 ton annually. The factory is Aller Aqua’s first in Asia and Hans Erik Bylling considers it essential: “The factory will increase our competitiveness in China, with shorter delivery times to key markets.” The factory will export to both Korea and Vietnam.

Aller Aqua produce fish feed for freshwater and saltwater aquaculture. That is the brief presentation, but it doesn’t even come close to covering the entire story. Aller Aqua is a family owned company with roots tracing back more than a thousand years. We have produced fish feed for more than 50 years, and this makes us one of the worlds most experienced fish feed producers, delivering some of the best products on the market, to our customers.

They chose to establish themselves in China without a Chinese partner. Hans Erik Bylling explains: We chose to establish the factory without a local partner to ensure that we can continue to deliver the products that the customers are familiar with. We have delivered high quality aqua feed to China for the last 20 years., produced under the European standards, and we will continue to run the factory like we would in Denmark. We will do this by sourcing the raw materials in Europe, and ensure a highly trained local team which knows how to comply with the European standards.”

The head office of Danish Aller Aqua Group is located in Christiansfeld. The company produces fish feed for more than 60 countries worldwide in factories in Denmark, Polans, Germany and Egypt, Zambia and China. The addition of the two new factories and the third production line in Egypt will double the production capacity. All in all the company employs approximately 270 people and has a total turnover in the region of Dkk 1 Billion.

Geely to become Saxo Bank’s majority owner

Shareholders of Saxo Bank Group (Saxo), a leading multi-asset trading and financial-technology firm with presence in key financial centres such as Hong Hong, Shanghai and Singapore, have received an offer from Sampo Group, a leading Nordic financial services group, to take up a stake of 19.9 per cent of the bank.

The other significant owner development concerns Geely of China. In May 2017, it was announced that Geely Financials Denmark A/S, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd (Geely Group), had made an offer to buy 30 per cent of the shares of Saxo. Geely Group has offered to buy more shares and will thus become majority shareholder with a total of 51.5 per cent.

TPG Capital and SinarMas accepted the offer from Geely and Sampo Group and will sell 100 per cent of their shares of 29.26 per cent and 9.9 per cent respectively. Co-founder and CEO Kim Fournais’ stake of 25.71 per cent remains unchanged.

The transactions are pending regulatory approvals and are expected to be finalised during the next six months.

“With both Geely Group and Sampo Group as key shareholders in Saxo Bank, we have a strong group of owners with a wish and ability to foster long term growth. Geely is well known for its strong power of execution, ability to foster growth and entrepreneurial spirit. With Geely we secure a strong position in core growth markets in Asia with greater China as center. Sampo Group has a long and impressive history in financial services bringing a wealth of experience and insight in the financial sector. This marks a new and important chapter for Saxo Bank giving us a unique and strong foundation and I look forward to taking Saxo Bank to new highs together with our shareholders and employees, ensuring our clients a best-in-class experience. I would like to thank the current investors for their partnership, belief in Saxo Bank and their contribution over the years,” said Kim Fournais, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“We have found Saxo Bank to be an extremely strong partner for many of Geely’s investment partners across the Greater China region. We at Geely Group believe that Saxo Bank’s technologies and product value can be effectively expanded across the Asian region, which is why we are willing to offer to buy more shares in Saxo Bank. Over the past decade Saxo Bank has developed a strong reputation in global financial and regulatory technology, which we hope to strengthen in the Asia region in the coming years,” said Daniel Donghui Li, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Geely Group.

“Saxo Bank is an exceptionally interesting unicorn in the Nordic fintech area and Sampo is excited to participate in developing its global reach further. Saxo has a unique trading platform which, in our view, is the best in the market and offers great potential globally for white labelling to financial institutions, investors and family offices,” said Kari Stadigh, Chief Executive Officer and President, Sampo Group.

Saxo (a fully licensed and regulated bank) is a leading multi-asset trading and investment specialist headquartered in Denmark, offering a complete set of trading and investment technologies, tools and strategies. For almost 25 years, Saxo’s mission has been to enable individuals and institutions by facilitating their access to professional trading and investing through technology and expertise.

Saxo enables its private clients to trade multiple asset classes across global financial markets from one single margin account and across multiple devices. Additionally, Saxo provides institutional clients such as banks and brokers with multi-asset execution, prime brokerage services and trading technology.

Geely Holding is a global automotive group that owns several well-known international automotive brands, with operations spanning the automotive value chain, from research, development and design to production, sales and servicing.

Now headquartered in Hangzhou, China the group comprises three businesses: Geely Auto Group, Volvo Car Group and Geely Commercial Vehicles Company. Its brands include Geely Auto, LYNK & CO, Volvo Car, Polestar, the London Taxi Company, Yuan Cheng Auto, PROTON (49.9%), and Lotus Group (51%).

Sampo Group is a leading Nordic financial group operating in property and casualty insurance and life insurance business. The parent company Sampo plc is listed in Nasdaq Helsinki with a market capital of EUR 25 billion. Sampo’s subsidiary If P&C Insurance is the largest property and casualty insurer in the Nordic region, with more than 3.7 million customers in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Mandatum Life is a financial services company that provides wealth management, remuneration services and personal risk insurance to private and corporate customers in Finland and in Baltic countries. Sampo plc is also the largest shareholder in Nordea Bank and Topdanmark, which are Sampo’s associated companies.

Danish PFA Pension fund invests in Logos

Logos is a vertically integrated property logistics specialist with expertise spanning all aspects of the risk return spectrum that has per 30 October closed its third china logistics venture, , Logos China Logistics Venture 3, with Ivanhoé Cambridge and Denmark’s PFA Pension (PFA) as equal partners.

The Venture will focus on the development of high quality logistics facilities in four regions covering North, East, South and Mid-West China. It extends the Logos China investment mandate beyond Greater Shanghai, establishing the business as a national provider of quality industrial and logistics properties. The establishment of the Venture also strengthens the relationship between Loogs and Ivanhoé Cambridge and welcomes PFA as a new investor to the business.

The Venture will have up to US$830M in investment capacity. The significant investment and broader geographic scope reflects the logistics specialist’s and the investors’ confidence in the opportunities available in China on the back of compelling macroeconomic fundamentals, trade flow and ecommerce growth as well as the quality of the identified pipeline.

“The establishment is testament to the logistics growth story, a key beneficiary of the e-commerce boom in China, and our continued track record in development of high quality logistics assets as well as the ability to secure an attractive pipeline of opportunities for our investors.” said John Marsh, Joint Managing Director of Logos.

“Partnerships are fundamental to our business and we are pleased to have extended our relationship with Ivanhoé Cambridge as well as attracting PFA – both leading real estate investors – into our latest China venture,” he added

Trent Iliffe, Joint Managing Director of Logos said: “This venture will build on the significant experience that LOGOS has from delivering high quality institutional logistics assets across Asia Pacific and leverage the extensive demand from our existing regional and new domestic customers, to continue developing institutional grade assets across greater China.”

“The Chinese logistics sector continues to offer strong absorption and growth rates due to a long-term undersupply of modern logistics facilities. PFA has strong conviction on the growth of the logistics sector in Asia and particularly in China,” said Michael Bruhn, Head of Real Estate for PFA Pension. “We are looking forward to making this direct real estate investment in China and to partner with LOGOS and Ivanhoé Cambridge.”

Logos generates success in vertically integrated property logistics, meeting the specific objectives of both our investors and our customers and with expertise spanning all aspects of the risk return spectrum and an established network throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Four assets were acquired for a Malaysian Asian Fund in 2014. The establishment of its Singapore operations in 2016 has been an important step in its strategic growth.

Danes in China invite to post-Communist Party Congress briefing

The Danish Chamber of Commerc in China, DCCC, is inviting you for an update on the outcome of the 19th Communist Party Congress in Beijing. Co-founder of Trivium/China and former Resident China Economist for the Conference Board’s China Center, Andrew Polk, will at a dedicated breakfast meeting on 15 November deliver a presentation and answer questions.

The immediate effects of the 19th Communist Party Congress have been quite easy to notice: Security has been tightened, and license plate restrictions and several restaurants and bars have been closed. It is evident that this political meeting is very important, but why is it so important and how can the outcome of the meetings affect your foreign company operating in China?

To help us gain a better understanding of the outcomes of the meeting, the DCCC has invited Co-founder of Trivium/China and former Resident member of the Conference Board’s China Center, Andrew Polk’s presentation and q&a will have specific focus on economic policies and the business environment in China. This is your chance to understand what the fuss is all about and to prepare your business for the future political reality in China.

Throughout his career, Andrew Polk has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge on monetary policy, capital flows and financial market development in East and Southeast Asia with an emphasis on China. He is currently working as Head of Trivium/China’s economic research and was previously Resident Economist for the Conference Board’s China Center.

Time: Wednesday, November 15th from 8.00-9.30
Venue: Westin Hotel Beijing Chaoyang, 7 North Dongsanhuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing.

Source: DCCC

Ground breaking ceremonies in China for Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters, Shanghai
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects’ design for the new CaoHeJing Guigu Creative Headquarters in Shanghai broke ground on Monday 18th September. Developed by government-backed CaoHeJing Hi-Tech Park, the project is aimed as CaoHeJing’s platform for innovation. The new Centre will support and nurture high-tech firms, and connect local and overseas university graduates and enterprises and act as an accelerator for new technology in China.

The project sits on the edge of Shanghai Caohejing Hi-Tech Park, a state level economic and technological development zone covering an area of 14.5 km2 east of downtown Shanghai, and home to some 1200 domestic and overseas hi-tech companies. The project is the Danish architect firm’s third collaboration with CaoHeJing and is expected to complete in 2020.

The new Shanghai East Library breaks ground
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has also revealed the latest visuals for the new Shanghai East Library marking the project ground breaking. Back in 2016, they won a three-stage international competition to design the new public library that will sit adjacent to Century Park in the east part of the city. The project officially broke ground on Wednesday 27 September. The 115,000m² library, located in Pudong District – the area of the city known for its iconic skyline, will sit immediately next to Century Park -the largest park in the city spread over 140 hectares.

“Creating a building of this size is an enormous challenge,” said Partner Chris Hardie. “The complexity of program spaces required in a new modern library such as this goes far beyond being simply a container for physical books. As we always believe a new modern library should be, we envisage this will become a “living room” for Shanghai’s citizens bringing them new learning and cultural experiences binding them closer to their own city and the world.”

The completed library is expected to be open to the public by the end of 2020.

The project is conceived as a singular monolithic object floating above the tree canopy within the park. The main library volume floats above two pavilions that will house a 1200 seat performance venue, exhibition and events space and a dedicated children’s library, that will all open up towards a series of landscaped courtyards and gardens.

About Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
With 30 years of experience, Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects is one of Scandinavia’s most recognized and award-winning architectural practices. Working out of studios located in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Shanghai, they provide skilled architectural services all over the world, with a distinguished track record as designers of international high-profile architecture. They are deeply committed to the Nordic architectural traditions based on democracy, welfare, aesthetics, light, sustainability and social responsibility.