"China is fast, thinks and acts strategically and wishes to become a main global actor," says Betty Xu, PhD who is the European standardization expert responsible for China.
Dr. Karl Grün, Director Development Austrian Standards, met the graduated electrical engineer who was born in China at the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre (CCMC) in Brussels at the end of October in the margins of the European conference "Standards: Your Innovation Bridge".
In August 2014, Betty Xu was appointed Seconded European Standardization Expert in China (SESEC III). SESEC is a project led by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) that is funded by the European Commission, EFTA as well as CENELEC (electrotechnical standardization) and ETSI (telecommunications standardization).
The tasks are:
- to promote European and international standards in China,
- to improve contacts with different levels of the Chinese administration, industry and standardization bodies,
- to improve the visibility and understanding of the European Standardization System (ESS) in China, and
- to gather regulatory and standardization intelligence.
The SESEC project mainly is to benefit the stakeholders of European standardization and, in particular, Europe's economy.
"The promotion of European and international standards in China helps Europe's enterprises in entering the Chinese market," explains Betty Xu. "At present, around 80% of Chinese standards are already identical to ISO and IEC standards. But there are also challenges in the application of those standards that result from the complex structure of the Chinese standardization system whose reform started several years ago. Moreover, China has a strategic goal: to play a major role in international standardization!"
Betty Xu gathered experiences in standardization and technical regulations as the project manager for several Chinese standards. At that time, she also took part in the development of two IEC standards. In particular, she was able to deepen, broaden and apply her knowledge as director for standardization and technical regulations of Siemens Ltd. China responsible for Northeast Asia.
In this function, she co-ordinated standardization activities in various fields, organizations and technical committees. Her tasks also included the promotion of IEC and European standards in China, the maintenance of contacts with government agencies and the strengthening of co-operation between Europe's economy and Chinese ministries.
Furthermore, Betty Xu chaired the working group on conformity assessment and standardization of the European Chamber of Commerce in China. She can now apply the experiences gained in those times in her capacity as the Seconded European Standardization Expert in China for Europe.
Before her appointment as SESEC III, Betty Xu has worked for Standards Australia since April 2013. From 1 January 2015, she will be active in China.
The SESEC III mission
For Betty Xu her mission also includes that European standards are taken over as Chinese standards without changes. If adoption without modifications should not be possible, the differences should be marked in line with the transparency principle. "A great advantage of China is that decisions can be taken fast, especially with regard to implementation. In particular, the economy is increasingly encouraged to open to competition."
Sectors given high priority in the SESEC III mission are, for example, cloud computing, information and communication technologies and their infrastructure, the internet of things (IOT), medical products, consumer protection (e.g. toys, textiles, cosmetics, household appliances), electrical and electronic equipment, energy management and environmental protection (e.g. resource efficiency, eco-design, energy efficiency of buildings), smart sustainable construction as well as smart grids, smart transport and e-mobility.
Which areas could be of particular interest for Austrian companies in China? Betty Xu sees great potentials especially in infrastructure projects of small cities, i.e. "small" by Chinese standards. Likewise, sectors related to electric vehicles, services (especially in the banking industry) and boatbuilding would be highly attractive.
Fundamentally, there were also changes in consumer behaviour and a trend towards "better life", which was reflected by increased quality awareness and leisure activities.