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Demola Expanding to Shanghai

9 Apr 2019
by Riikka Kämppi

China has become an important market for an ever-growing number of global companies. For the first time, companies now have the opportunity to work directly with one of China's top universities, as Demola, Europe's largest innovation platform begins its operations in Shanghai.

Fudan university is one of China’s most popular establishments of higher education, but only a fraction of the applicants is accepted to study at Fudan each year. This setting gives companies a unique opportunity to develop their business operations and solve future challenges together with Chinese university millennials. 

The collaboration with one of China’s most renowned universities is made possible by the innovation platform Demola, which has expanded to Shanghai in March, 2019.

“China, the world-wide largest market without comparison, provides the European industry with an exclusive opportunity to establish a foothold in China’s future. Alongside Demola, the companies will be given access to the views and ideas of the students at Fudan university”, says Harri Kulmala, Demola’s part-owner, and the industry innovation platform DIMECC’s CEO.

In addition to their own experts, Demola’s business idea consists of gathering a multidisciplinary team of university students. Furthermore, the Finnish-born Demola’s operations have already expanded to 16 countries, and there are over 750,000 students in Demola’s partner universities.

“China’s younger generation is in a key position regarding preparations for the future, and that is why global companies, regardless of industry, are advised to listen to China’s emerging leading experts, says Demola Global’s CEO Ville Kairamo.

Finland's plywood industry getting their bearings from China

Raute Oyj, a Finnish timber industry technology import company and Nordic Centre, which in charge of promoting collaboration between the Nordic universities and Fudan university, are the first organizations to take on a Demola challenge in Shanghai.


We are fascinated by the possibility to gain novel and broad-minded thinking into our operations.

“Potentially, China is our largest market, at the same time, the most challenging. Even the top analytics companies cannot precisely foresee what will take place on China’s market in the near future. Hence, Demola affords us a good operating strategy to collaborate with the future experts in China, and to understand our industry’s development further than just next or the year after next,” explains Mika Hyysti, Raute’s Technology Director.

In addition to Fudan’s university students, there are two of Raute’s own experts working in the company’s international Demola team. Their goal is to uncover the future of the plywood industry in China, in terms of the next generation’s needs and attitudes.

“We are fascinated by the possibility to gain novel and broad-minded thinking into our operations. We work with our business affairs on a daily basis and can easily get stuck in our own partial views,” says Raute’s CEO, Tapani Kiiski

After the spring’s pilot term, Demola intends to take several businesses on board and to continue with 5-10 teams. 

“Demola offers an excellent opportunity for companies to employ Chinese expertise, who are familiar with the local environment and have an exceptionally high work ethic as well as a fast learning speed,” Harri Kulmala reiterates.

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