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Market driven authentic non-timber forest products from the Baltic Sea region

Branch: Chemistry and bioeconomy

Duration: 1.1.2019 – 30.6.2021

Region: International

Financed by: ERDF Baltic Sea Region

Project Manager: Leena Favén

Focus on wild and semi-cultivated species with business potential

Due to increasing and ageing of population and the rise of health and environmental awareness of consumers non-timber forest products (NTFP) business is a mega trend globally. Nordic health and well –being business was 12.1 billion € in 2016 and it is expected to grow to 36 billion € according to the Natural Products Scandinavia newsletter 2017. According to the UN FAO Newsletter (2013) the value of the global wellness industry was 3.4 trillion US$ in the previous year. 

The EU 2020 strategy promotes smart and sustainable growth. The development of Baltic NTFP such as health promoting food and bio-based cosmetics, create job opportunities in rural areas since manufacturing of these products is economically most efficient close to forests and farmlands. The opportunity to increase export of NTFP to selected Chinese/Asian market would contribute to the growth and jobs in the Baltic countries. 

The objective is to enhance the market uptake of NTFP innovations based on improved R&D infra related to authenticity and quality and enhanced utilization of the R&D capacity. The goal is to review the market demand for NTFP in selected regions in China and Asia and to evaluate the feasibility of selected business opportunities through techno-economic calculations.  

Due to the global competition fake products can be found. To help the real and reliable Baltic NWFP business to grow it is important to show proofs of authentic raw materials/products. Methods are needed  by SMEs to provide verification of authenticity of NTFP. Methods based on the analysis of chemical compounds, susceptible to changes by environmental factors, are generally used in the authentication of plant material, but today DNA methods are more accurate and easily applied and of interest. Nuclear and chloroplast genome based sequencing can be utilized for quick pinpointing of raw material/product origin in a species specific manner. Enterprises need methods for product quality and safety monitoring to convince purchasing/consumers that the quality of the products is consistent and traceable. The results, quality demonstration and authenticity methods will be used by SMEs as proof of quality products/premium products. The capacity of the NTFP R&D infra related to authenticity and quality and the utilization of the infra will be enhanced. The feasibility of selected technologies and needed production volumes will be calculated which would help SMEs in planning their businesses. The project can help NTFP business growth: more NTFP raw materials could be refined to high quality, authentic products locally which would create job opportunities. The NTFP business opportunities in the Baltic Sea region and market uptake of NTFP innovations in selected areas in China and Asia would be improved due to the utilization of the developed authenticity and quality demonstration methods. 

Total budget:  EUR 1,9 million

European Regional Development Fund: EUR 1.4 million

Norwegian Funding: EUR 0.06 million

Project duration: 36 months, 1/2019 – 6/2021

The lead partner of NovelBaltic is University of Oulu.

Finland: University of Oulu  (coordinator of the project), Centria University of Applied Sciences, Aalto University, The Finnish Forest Centre

Norway: UiT The Arctic University of Norway, NIBIO, section of Bioresources and Innovation

Latvia: University of Latvia, Silvexpo Ltd

Lithuania: Lithuanian Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry/Institute of Horticulture LRC, Kaunas University of Technology KTU FI

Estonia: Tartu Science Park

Associated partners/business intermediaries 

  • The Arctic University of Norway, UiT 
  • Beijing Forestry University, Zhang Bolin 
  • The Finnish Nature Based Entrepreneurship Association 
  • Team Finland Malaysia 
  • Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Lapland 
  • University of Latvia, Innovation Department of University of Latvia 
  • Lithuanian Food Exporters Association 
  • GMM Agency, Lithuania 
  • Ard Innovation AS

The lead partner of NovelBaltic is University of Oulu. The University of Oulu, founded in 1958, is an international multidisciplinary science university which creates innovation for the future, well-being, and knowledge through research and education. University of Oulu is one of the biggest universities in Finland with 13 500 students and 2800 employees including eight faculties and many specialized research units.

The aim of Centria‘s research and development is to develop the expertise for the companies and organizations, in order to enhance their activities and competitiveness. The goal is to both provide and create new knowledge, skills and technologies for the local businesses and industries. R&D is closely linked to teaching activities, which allows Centria’s students to benefit from a learning environment based on the real working life.Centria’s R&D has been identified as one of the institution’s strengths and its success has been recognized on the national scale. Centria’s strength is the unusually close links to the local working life. The local business and working life have been funding about one quarter of the research and development activities.

Aalto University is a multidisciplinary research and education community with science and art meeting technology and business. Aalto University has six schools with nearly 20 000 students and 4 500 employees, over 400 of whom are professors. Aalto University and VTT form a joint national Bioeconomy Infrastructure is on the national research infrastructure roadmap 2014-2020. Aalto Bioeconomy contains the selected research infrastructures containing research laboratories, characterization and analysis equipment and modeling and simulation tools for the development of chemicals, fuels, fibre products and materials from renewable biomass utilizing biotechnical, chemical and thermal processing technologies (

The Finnish Forest Centre (Suomen metsäkeskus) is a governmental forestry organisation covering the whole country, employing 550 forestry experts. Its task is to enforce the Forest Act and to promote sustainable forestry and forest-based livelihoods in Finland. The Forest Centre operates under the guidance of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

NIBIO – The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research will be Norway’s leading institute for development of knowledge about the bioeconomy. The institute will promote food security, sustainable resource management, innovation and value creation in the value chains for the food, forestry and other bio-based industries. The institute will deliver research, administrative support and knowledge to be used towards national preparedness, public administration, trade and industry, and society at large.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø is a medium-sized research university and the northernmost university in the world.  UiT contributes to knowledge-based development at the regional, national and international level. Climate change, the exploitation of Arctic resources and environmental threats are topics of great public concern, and which the UiT takes special interest in. 

University of Latvia is the largest university in the country with over 15 000 students and 3360 graduates every year. University consists of 13 faculties and 13 scientific institutes with 3175 employees. Laboratory of Natural Product Research from Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences is the partner in NovelBaltic project. Team of University of Latvia brings expertise gathered through collaboration with SME’s on non-timber forest product composition and potential to be used as valuable resource of bioactive substances, with emphasis on Northern berries.(

Since 2010, the company SilvEXPO has been working on transforming fresh ideas and technologies into new generation products and services. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have been carried out in close cooperation with scientists, researchers and health care professionals, as well as clinical studies to find the most effective dosages and compound combinations of Latvian spruce and pine needle active substances. At the moment the company is working on the development of new technologies, while optimising the existing ones for the extraction of active natural substances, as well as the most effective end forms, also integrating active substances in nano-forms.

The comments from our enterprise partner Silvexpo can be found here.

Main scientific directions of Lithuanian Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry/Institute of Horticulture (LAMMC IH) Biochemistry and technology laboratory are assessment of fruit and vegetable chemical composition and quality, optimization and development of storage and processing technologies, development of healthy, high-added value fruit and vegetable products. (

Food Institute of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU FI) performs scientific research in the area of Food Science as well as applied research for food industry, retail etc. KTU-FI consists of sensory, microbiology, chemistry and technology laboratories, and Food Research Center (LST EN ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, scope: physical chemical and microbiological research of food products). (

Tartu Science Park (TSP) is the oldest science park in the Baltic. For almost 20 years it provides business support services to raise competitiveness of enterprises on the global market. TSP provides enterprises with infrastructure, business consulting, technology transfer and networking services. It has a wide network of contacts with universities, public and private sector organizations and has a close cooperation with the Bio-Competence Centre of Healthy Dairy Products, Tartu Biotechnology Park, Tartu Business Advisory Service Foundation, Tartu Creative Industries Centre and Tartu Rural Development Association that ensures comprehensive coverage of South-Estonian SMEs. Currently there are more than 80 enterprises located in TSP.

Activities and reports

The aim is to develop authenticity analyses for plant species / raw material / products important for trade in Baltic countries taking into account also the export potential and needs of the emerging markets of NTFP in South East Asia and China.

Nordic/Baltic NTFP raw materials and products are regarded to be safe, pure and reliable. The demand for high quality NTFP is growing. Unfortunately, due to the global competition fake NTFP can be found on the market as well. In order to help the real and reliable NTFP business to grow it is important to show proofs of authentic raw materials/products.

There is a need for the development of more accurate methods for confirming the authenticity of biological raw material/products, especially for wild plant material. Methods are needed for the markets to be able to provide verification of authenticity of the plant material.

A survey of the research and testing needs of some NTFP enterprises in the Baltic countries has been completed by University of Latvia The research and development infrastructure including extraction and characterization methods of the NovelBaltic project partners has also been summarized. It has been concluded that the services could be adjusted to match the needs of the market demand in Asia and to support the development of novel non-timber forest products. These results are used to develop the NovelBaltic R&D platform which is currently being enhanced based on comments from enterprises.

NovelBaltic Platform is designed for enterprises to find laboratories and institutes, which provide quality and authenticity analyses for raw materials and products. It’s focus is on non-timber forest products. This video shows how you can use the platform to find the right analyses for your material or product and find a laboratory capable of performing them for you. 

The aim is to develop and test user- friendly chemical characterization methods for NTFP raw materials and products in order to produce proof of quality for NTFP as premium authentic products or raw materials.

Commercial NTFP on global markets usually include quality data such as specifications for valuable components (e.g. flavonoids in birch leaves), impurities, minerals. There can be a lot of variation in the quality of natural raw materials due to many reasons such as weather conditions/climate change, storage and handling conditions and varying lengths of growing seasons. NTFP from Baltic countries are often highly valued since they are regarded as authentic and reliable. However, these properties should be proven by quality testing. If testing is not widely available and affordable for SME`s it will remain as one of the bottle necks when the aim is to increase production volumes and export of Baltic NTFP. In addition to quality assurance for purchasing agents, enterprises can prove their products to be premium by the developed characterization methods.

There is a growing trend and global market demand for high quality non-timber forest products (NTFP). Considering that high value NTFP raw materials are available/unutilized in the Baltic Sea region and the fact that regional actors from the public and private sector in the Baltic Sea Region are often struggling to find efficient ways to take advantage of the market opportunity in China and South-East Asia (SEA) our project aims to provide know-how and best practice examples on how to do business with China/selected regions in SE Asia.

Main aim is to evaluate market driven product needs in China, more precisely in Beijing region and wider in SEA markets and provide initial guidelines how to enter above mentioned market in selected target industry by the project.

Development of Novel product/service concepts to enter Asian market

Result of this activity will be a portfolio of novel product/service concepts from BSR regions which could be marketed in SEA markets.

The final version of the brochure is a digital marketing and promotion tool for Nordic companies: Digital Product Portfolio. Aim of the portfolio is to bring together industry’s SMEs and stimulating uptake of Baltic region’s NTFPs in Asian markets and, in particular, in Chinese market. In this brochure, you will find companies’ information and short introduction of products in English and Mandarin languages. Herein represented SMEs from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway vary from NTFP growers and harvesters to processors and manufacturers.

Visit to China on 8/19

NovelBaltic team visited Beijing Forestry University and the following national research organizations to discuss cooperation on authenticity and quality test method development:

Beijing Forestry University

China National Research Institute of Food & Fermentation Industries (CNRIFFI)

Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) products in Shanghai

NovelBaltic team visited Consulate General of Finland in Shanghai and discussed NTWF business opportunities in China with Deputy Consul General Elina Rimppi, Executive Director Maria Måtar, Finnish Business Council Shanghai

The aim is to evaluate the feasibility of selected business opportunities through techno-economical calculations. 

Research on NWFP’s has not often considered to real commercial products and processes. A major restraint has been the lack of information on the efficient processing and techno-economical, social and environmental benefits that can be attained from appropriate industrial utilization of NWFP’s. Another issue in the industrial development of NWFPs has been the lack of financial support and incentives to the entrepreneurs due to quite a low priority that governments and banks have put on these industries often considered to act on low-volume, niche markets. However, there are many cases in Northern countries where these obstacles have been overcome and industrial production of powders, juices, jams, drinks, superfoods, essential oils, etc. for health, nutritional, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes has been established. In many Asian countries like China and India, these industries are also very competitive.  

Along with challenges in front-end harvesting and back-end marketing of NWFP product value chain, there are still some processing problems to overcome associated with industries based on NWFP’s. The processing techniques are sometimes inefficient leading to low yields, which often is due to lack of proper process development and downstream processing facilities. Moreover, the quality control procedures may not be appropriate because of shortages in equipment, trained personnel and knowhow, and access to up-to-date technological and market information. 

This task involves the following stages:

1) Selection and pre-evaluation of industrially viable NWFP products;

2) Conceptual design of selected processes;

3) Preliminary flowsheeting of selected processes;

4) Engineering design,

5) Cost assessment and sensitivity analysis. 

During 2019 NovelBaltic project collaborated with the project: “Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering: Design project in chemical engineering 2019”

NovelBaltic proposed the following topic for the one year student course: Essential oils from selected plants. Aalto university students evaluated the feasibility of refining the following special plants which are cultivated in Central Ostrobothnia: rose root, garden angelica and maral root. The final report is available on request.

Aalto university students (team NovelBaltic) presenting their work at the final seminar of the Design project in chemical engineering -course in December 2019.

Mass and energy balance calculations per batch extraction of roseroot, maral root and garden angelica are presented in the following report: 

R&D infra

A survey of the research and testing needs of some NTFP enterprises in the Baltic countries has been conducted. The research and development infrastructure including extraction and characterization methods of the NovelBaltic project partners has also been summarized. It has been concluded that the services could be adjusted to match the needs of the market demand in Asia and to support the development of novel non-timber forest products. These results are used to develop the NovelBaltic R&D platform

Development of authenticity analyses

Traceability Report

In order to build consumers’ trust on the food market and the manufacturers of food products, it is essential that the chain of production from the acquisition of raw materials all the way till the end product is both transparent and systematic. Besides providing safety for consumers, cues indicating product origin, and the comprehensive traceability of raw materials, tell about product quality and, furthermore, could allow producers to sell their products at a premium price.

In order to prevent the jeopardization of the internal markets in food and feed, the EU has set laws for product traceability. However, the legislation is not very strict and definitive when it comes to describing what are the relevant properties to trace and how traceability might be implemented in practice. The aim of this study was to collect information on how raw material traceability works in practice with NTFPs, especially in their early stages of production, i.e. raw material acquisition.

Information was collected from a total of 19 companies in Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Norway, and based on the results, raw materials are traceable through the different stages of production as is required by the EU legislation. However, the ability to trace materials back to their origins varies from exact location to origin on country level. Nevertheless, based on this study, it is possible to acquire products with raw material traceability to exact origins. This information can be used in, for example, the development of authentication methodology, or in other scientific research where product origin needs to be known. In addition, this information can be provided to the customers if requested.

Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry has studied the use of FT-NIR to prove the authenticity of bilberries from Baltic Sea region.

The determination of the authenticity of frozen and lyophilized bilberries and lingonberries of different regions in Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Norway by Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)

Raman spectroscopy is a non-sensitive technique due to a weak scattering related to that only one of a million photons are scattered in-elastically. Therefore, low-intensity Raman bands are observed in the spectrum, what makes an analysis of a test object to be complicated. Especially in the cases, when the concentrations of the particular molecules of interest are extremely low. Moreover, when analyzing materials containing pigments, there is a probability that the fluorescent background will be observed in the spectrum, which interferes with the qualitative, as well as quantitative analysis of the test object. Since the bilberries and lingonberries are rich in anthocyanin, the main peaks of the bilberries expressed in the spectra are related to the vibrations of these organic compounds.

O4.3 Berry lipid quality and authentication results obtained from bilberries and lingonberries picked 2019 and 2020 from several regions

Forest berries and their products are gaining expanded popularity due to their better taste, natural origin, and health benefits. However, there is widespread lying about the origin of these berries in recent years so that lower-quality berries can be sold at a higher price. A specific focus was to identify lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) samples from 4 different countries in a two-year period. To establish an accurate method for identifying the origin country of the berries by their lipid composition, the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) approach was adopted. The used method may authenticate the lipid origin of blueberries due to a good correlation between the growth site and the years.

The determination of the authenticity of frozen and lyophilized bilberries and lingonberries of different regions in Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Norway via HPLC

Due to its numerous health-promoting characteristics, Vaccinium berries have grown in popularity among consumers and manufacturers. Wild bilberries and lingonberries are highly valued components in food and nutraceutical products. In the last 10 years, consumers have rekindled their interest in foodstuffs that are closely linked to a certain geographic location. As a result, there are an increasing number of items on the market bearing regional indications. As a result, determining the provenance of a product has become increasingly important. Adulteration is unfortunately a big global problem, therefore mislabeled and adulterated bilberry and lingonberry goods can also be found on the market. In order to safeguard consumers and avoid unfair competition, it is necessary to identify bilberry and lingonberries species throughout the whole manufacturing process, from the raw material level through the verification of labeling claims. Adulteration using replacements such as synthetic chemicals or cheaper berries, dilution, and mislabeling regarding botanical or geographical origin are all common ways of adulteration. In the instance of a mislabeled origin, a phytochemical analysis might be a useful and alternative technique in the authentication process. Bilberries and lingonberries, on the other hand, have a high concentration of anthocyanins, which are likely the most active components. There are substantial financial incentives to sell or create polluted raw materials or products due to today’s intense competition. Because each genus’ berries have their own unique anthocyanin composition, anthocyanin fingerprinting has been effectively utilized in quality control. Each of three sugar moieties (galactose, glucose, and arabinose) is bound to five aglycones (delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin and malvidin) in the blueberry anthocyanin profile, which includes 15 main characteristic anthocyanidin glycosides.

Quality characterization

Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry and Centria University of Applied Sciences have studied the quality differences in bilberries and lingonberries from Baltic Sea region. To learn more about the quality characterization and made observations, you can read the report here:

High-performance liquid chromatographic analysis of isoflavones in red clover extracts

Isoflavonoids are a class of phenolic compounds, many of which are biologically active. The isoflavonoid group includes isoflavones, isoflavanones, isoflavones, isoflavans, pterocarpans and coumestans. From the group of isoflavonoids, isoflavones and coumestans are often referred to as phytoestrogens due to their resemblance to estrogen (17β-Estradiol) and exertion of estrogenic and/or anti-estrogenic effects (Krížová et al., 2019). In nature, isoflavones are typically present as glucosides, acetyl glucosides or malonyl glucosides (Munro et al., 2003).

The effect of phytoestrogens was found in 1940, when sheep ate subterranean clover and started to have diverse reproduction disorders. The reason was found in the formation of equol from isoflavones, especially formononetin (Krížová et al., 2019). The main sources of isoflavones are legumes such as soybeans (Glycine max), red clover (Trifolium pretense), white clover (Trifolium repens) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa) (Krížová et al., 2019; Munro et al., 2003). In plants, phytoestrogens give protection during stress and microbial attack, and have fungistatic, antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant properties (Krížová et al., 2019).

The purpose of the research was to study the extraction and analysis of isoflavones of red clover. The report presents what extraction methods and analysis parameters were tested and which showed to be the most promising for quantifying isoflavones with HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography). Extraction and analysis instructions are provided, as well as recommendations on how to proceed with method development. 

Techno-economic evaluation

WP6 – Conceptual design of selected NTFP processes

O6.3. Process flow diagrams (PFD)

In this report, the overall configuration of the process is introduced. The extraction process consists of two main steps: pre-treatment and the main extraction process. In this process, annually three different products are extracted from three different plants, roseroot, maral root, and garden angelica. The total production capacity of the process plant is approximately 13 tons.

Comprehensive process flow diagrams are prepared for pre-treatment, supercritical CO2 extraction, and product and solvent recovery steps. The diagrams include process piping, main equipment, related control systems, outside-battery limit connections, and CO2 and co-solvent recycle streams. In addition, stream tables in process flow diagrams present the mass balance and operating information.

For safety reasons, the main production process is located inside an ATEX certified container with 40 m2 area. Based on the plant layout, the total process plant area including outside and inside battery limits is 600 m2.

 O6.4. Engineering package for investment

In this report, the supercritical CO2 extraction process models are shown for each type of raw material. In the following, the operation is described based on the process flow diagrams. These diagrams are developed according to the simulation results in Aspen Plus.

Process design and simulation play an important role in equipment selection and design. After equipment selection, the process equipment sizing is carried out based on relevant literature and vendor data or using design software including Aspen Exchanger Design and Rating. For process safety analysis, HAZOP study is conducted for the supercritical CO2 extraction and product and solvent recovery steps. In this study, pressure, temperature, flow, and level are process pa-rameters selected for each node.

For enhancing the health and safety of employees at the production plant, the industrial hygiene is studied from three aspects: engineering solutions, work practice controls, and administrative controls. Finally, sustainability and environmental concerns are analyzed for process waste and vent streams. The supercritical CO2 extraction is a closed loop process, and most of CO2 and co-solvents are recovered and reused in the extraction step. Therefore, there are not significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

WP6 Group of activities 6.5: Cost assessment

 This report covers the financial economic assessment of the process plant including fixed capital
investment (CAPEX), operating costs (OPEX), production costs, profitability and sensitivity analysis.
The equipment cost estimation is 1.1 M€, fixed capital investment estimation 5.1 M€, work-ing
capital 900 k€, and operating cost 3.1 M€/a. By adding up the fixed capital investment and working
capital, the total capital investment is 6 M€.

For profitability analysis, internal rate of return and payback period are analyzed. Payback period
is calculated to be around 3 years. Based on a 20-year plant lifetime, internal rate of return is
calculated to be 33.4 %. Sensitivity analysis is conducted for raw material and key product prices,
operational costs, and fixed capital investment. The costs assessment results suggest that the
production plant would be profitable.

This report also discusses the readiness of the process with six categories. The analysis shows
that the recommended process can attract potential investors.

Market demand

Overview of the Baltic Sea region NTFP potential for the market entry into China

Current report gives a general overview of China’s market pre-pandemic and focuses on providing information to Baltic region SMEs, who are looking to start up export activities in China or Asian region. First part of the report is dedicated to description of China’s economy and sociology, which provides an insight into the vastness of the Chinese market. Further chapters are dedicated to the illustration of the most viable industries for potential NTFP exporters, such as, wellness, health and foods. Afterwards, the main focus shifts from the Asian region and jumps to the Baltics: export, import and main product trade overview is given for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. In order to highlight, what type of goods are trending in the EU’s export categories to Asia, we have provided the data of exports from the Baltic countries to China. The second part of this report is allocated for more in-depth information about the most popular NTFP sector – various berries cultivated in the Baltics. This part reviews not only economic aspects of growth and production, but also touches upon the main known health benefits of berry consumption, as well as some historic and legislative aspects. All in all, current report is aimed to provide and outlook for the potential of NTFPs as a promising export category in the Asian markets.

Readers can use this report to get acquainted with the China’s trade situation pre-pandemic and then be able to compare it to the new reality of 2021. This can help small Baltic region SMEs with little experience in the export to really weigh their expectations and set previous market knowledge against the latest trends one can only accurately acquire in the latest news. Since 2019, the economic situation of the World has entered a dynamic change phase which still continues up to date.

We should always be circumspect about Chinese data – with the usual caveat that the trajectory of the data rather than the figures themselves are a useful guide to how China’s economy is growing. Worries over a resurgence of the virus are also clouding current China’s growth outlook. Many market analysts are predicting China’s growth to accelerate by the end of 2021, but the China Bureau of Statistics has warned of a “grave and complex environment both at home and abroad”, with the pandemic having a “huge impact”.

For the readers of this report we’d like to point out that in the China’s market situation in 2021 caution is advised for newcomer SMEs – you can expect to make significant strategic shifts in order to keep pace with the breakneck speed of digital innovation overseas and the still ever-changing pandemic situation. 

Entering the Chinese Market with NTFPs: Market Entry Handbook for Entrepreneurs 

The main objective of this handbook is to create a practical tool for companies and entrepreneurs to help guide them through the initial steps of entering a distant and culturally different market.
Content of Handbook:

This handbook covers the typical entry process to the Chinese market for a small business by focusing on relevant phases important to companies who are considering expanding their business activities to China.

Topics addressed include key questions such as:
1. Who and where are your main clients?
2. How do you need to adapt your product/service?
3. How can you prepare for visits to China?
4. How can you handle business visits, landmark events, cultural differences?

The handbook will help in the application of in-depth topics introduced in the guidelines:
a) components of exporting
b) Business and product marketing
c) implementation plan
d) distribution channels
f) establishing local presence

The content of this handbook, which are based on market information, provide a pragmatic toolbox for entrepreneurs to familiarize themselves with opportunities for, assess possibilities of, and develop their own implementation plans to enter the Chinese market. The tips and strategies used here are based on the available existing national and EU support, along with the know-how of entrepreneurs and SMEs which already have business activities in China.

Guidelines for Market Entry Strategy: Entering the Chinese Market with NTFPs

Purpose of these Guidelines
This document serves as a guide for SMEs who are taking their first steps in entering the Chinese Market. While this project focuses on NTFPs, the tips here can be used across other economic sectors as well.

The following guidelines combine classical export plan components and local strategies using conducted surveys.


Leena Favén


Prof. Hely Häggman

Lead Partner, University of Oulu, Finland +358 40 8446 842

Sanni Kinnunen

Project Coordinator, University of Oulu, Finland +358 50 5233 324

Dr. Leena Favén 

Project Manager, Centria University of Applied Sciences, Finland  +358 44 7250 273