Chinese companies wanting to enter European markets should look to Amsterdam, according to Mayor Job Cohen.
"When you want to do trade in Europe, you want to distribute your goods and you want a special place for marketing or branding, Amsterdam is a good place," said Cohen, who is in China to promote the city to potential Chinese investors.
Cohen attended the "Going to the European Market through Amsterdam" forum yesterday, co-hosted by the China Federation of Industrial Economics and the Amsterdam city government.
He said that Amsterdam's service-oriented economy based on trade, logistics and distribution is a good gateway for Chinese companies to enter European markets.
Over 1700 international companies from the United States, Asia and other European countries have chosen Amsterdam as their home base for doing business in Europe, including Cisco, Canon, LG, Dell and Huawei.
The companies do business on a pan-European scale, whether it is for sales, branding and marketing, for customer support, for research and development or for logistics.
The Netherlands is a small country with only 16.4 million inhabitants about the same size as Beijing but its economic activity is sizeable.
As part of the Holland Delta that also includes Rotterdam, Europe's largest port, Amsterdam has excellent infrastructure like Schiphol Airport (Europe's third cargo airport), and the Port of Amsterdam (northern Europe's fourth port).
"We are the traders of Europe; we know its attractions and its pitfalls. In a globalizing economy, knowledge and access is vital for doing business," said Cohen.
To do business in Europe, he said, companies must have knowledge of its different cultures and languages and be flexible enough to adapt accordingly. Moreover, companies must have the roads, logistics and infrastructure for fast access to markets and to open up distribution channels.
Amsterdam excels in both areas, he said. And it is sandwiched in the middle of the three great European markets Germany, the United Kingdom and France.
It is the second largest European trading partner of China after Germany, and ahead of the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
Last year, the Netherland's imports from China increased 30 per cent and exports to China were up 20 per cent. Along with China, the Netherlands is in the top 10 of countries that export and import the most.