China’s government is making ambitious efforts to improve (waste-)water management and infrastructure throughout the country. China works on stricter regulations, laws and (enforcement) of environmental permits. Although the water sector sees investments, doing business for Dutch water technology companies provides challenges. The Water Alliance has several members that are already doing business in China; some throughout existing partners, others having a local office or local representative. Nevertheless, it is often the search for the right partner that is proving to be difficult and time consuming.
Besides representing the Water Alliance members where possible, our colleague Harro Brons also visited Aquatech China in Shanghai last week to keep a feeling with the contemporary Chinese developments, the existing (waste-)water issues and the business climate.
June 3rd was the first day of the exhibition. From the Industrial Water Leaders Forum and from speaking to companies and other stakeholders, it became clear that investments in (waste-)water treatment increased in the following sectors: (petro-)chemical industry, (thermal) energy and micro-electronics. Also pharmaceutical and food & beverage are frequently mentioned, with food & beverage still lagging somewhat behind, also because of the fact that water savings and reuse are wanted, however the economic driver is not always given.
The Water Alliance was based at the Holland Pavilion, where a networking reception was held in the afternoon. It was good to meet up with different companies and for example the representatives from the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) of Wahu and Nanjing. The NBSOs are set up by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (via NL EVD International) specifically to support Dutch businesses in their international activities.
Global Water Tech Hub Alliance
On June 4th, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Anna Ji from the Jiangsu Cluster. The Jiangsu Cluster is part of the Global Water Tech Hub Alliance. Established in September 2018, the Global Water Tech Hub Alliance was initiated by Water Alliance to foster international collaboration between regional hubs of water technology innovation. It is an open platform that helps match specific water challenges with solutions from around the world. The alliance works in two directions: supporting locally developed innovations in reaching out to foreign markets; and helping those seeking solutions to tap into a global pool of innovative technologies. This meeting was specifically interesting since the Chinese Hub opened their first call for solutions earlier this month.
Digitalization of Water – Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment.
I was also happy to attend the Digitalization of Water seminar. This consisted of keynotes on challenges and opportunities for both China and Europe, financing as well as concrete technology examples and solutions. The event mainly discussed the future challenges and opportunities in smart water.