Godiva and Webpower win 2016 Benelux Chamber of Commerce Shanghai award
Best of BenCham
Published: Nov 27, 2016 06:13 PM

The fifth edition Best of BenCham awards ceremony was recently held in Shanghai. Organized by the Shanghai chapter of the Benelux Chamber of Commerce (BenCham) in China, the ceremony announced winners for this year's awards.

The ceremony was joined by guests and representatives from Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) Consulates General in Shanghai and representatives from Benelux companies. A special guest, His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn van Oranje, from the Dutch Royal family, also attended.

Belgium chocolate brand Godiva won the KBC Best Company Award; Webpower, a Dutch marketing automation company, won the De Wolf Best Team Award; Dutch artist Peter Riezebos received the Rising Star Award.

Belgium chocolate brand Godiva wins the KBC Best Company Award. Photos: Courtesy of BenCham

Belgium chocolate brand Godiva wins the KBC Best Company Award. Photos: Courtesy of BenCham

Officially recognized

According to a 2016 business survey conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, over 60 percent of Dutch companies in China made a profit in 2016. Over 45 percent of Dutch companies in China attach "great importance" to the Chinese market in their strategies. The primary sectors these companies invest in include sales and marketing, production, research & development, recruitment and product quality.

As the only chamber of commerce officially recognized and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in China, the Benelux Chamber of Commerce aims to strengthen business connections between Benelux and China.

BenCham was established in 2001 and currently contains three chapters which are respectively based in Beijing, Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) area. It has more than 350 members across China, which consist of large-, small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as individuals with an active interest in developing their businesses in the Chinese mainland.

BenCham strives to build and maintain a strong business community in China, with organizing high-quality events as one of its main missions. Best of BenCham has thus become an iconic event to celebrate the successes and accomplishments of Benelux companies in China.

After submitting applications, candidate companies are reviewed by BenCham's Executive Committee and their partners: RNW Media, TPC Leadership and Amrop. Six finalists were elected from this round in October. Public voting polls then opened. All six finalists were given opportunities to create their own buzz to get out the vote. They also gave on-stage presentations at the event, where the final results were announced after the last round of live-voting.

Tremendous growth

The KBC Best Company Award finalists were Godiva, Instore Kids Corners and NTS Mechatronics Shanghai.

Godiva made its debut in China in 2009. Since then they have extended their footprint into 24 major Chinese cities with 95 stores. Carmen Chiu, Marketing & Merchandising Director China/Pacific Rim of Godiva (Shanghai), said at the ceremony that the company plans to have 280 boutiques in China by 2020, which means that there will be one new store launch every week.

Instore Kids Corners (IKC) was established in 1999 in the Netherlands. IKC made its first step into China in 2008 by opening a factory near Shanghai. Top-tier clients include IKEA, McDonald's and H&M. Rogier Tjeenk Willink, managing director of IKC, told the Global Times that they are "very optimistic" about the China market and hope their contribution to a harmonious kid-centered shopping and business environment helps their clients.

NTS Mechatronics Shanghai is an advanced system supplier in the high-tech industry. Owned by NTS Group BV, NTS Mechatronics Shanghai specializes in building machines and modules with precise movement and shows tremendous growth in various areas over the past years.

Rising stars

The De Wolf Best Team Award finalists included Webpower, Delaware Consulting and Sibelco. Webpower was founded in the Netherlands in 1999.

Webpower began conducting business in China in 2006 and is currently among the leading firms providing advanced e-mail marketing and digital marketing solutions. Jay Xie, general manager of the company, and his colleague Hanson Wu presented to the audience during the event how their company developed from one-man to the current 100-plus scale.

Delaware Consulting, a global consultancy organization with headquarters in Belgium, has offices in 21 countries worldwide and holds a China-based office with 150 employees. As a prime partner of SAP and Microsoft, Delaware Suzhou Co., Ltd. provides advanced solutions and services for clients in China.

Founded in 1872 in Belgium, Sibelco does business across Europe, America and Asia-Pacific areas with over 10,000 employees worldwide. Sibelco has 16 years' history in the China market, during which they have woven together a powerful network of factories and distributors covering the entire Chinese mainland.

The winner of the Rising Star Award was Dutch painter Peter Riezebos, who visualized a connection between China and Benelux during a live painting on stage at the event. Riezebos is Shanghai-based and says that his creative work encompasses drawings, poetry, installations and fashion. His painting created during the ceremony was immediately purchased by Dutch multinational company Philips. The sum of the sale will be donated to charity.

As economic connections between Benelux and China continue to expand, an increasing number of Benelux enterprises are progressing towards a more successful and sustainable business in China. The Best of BenCham 2016 is a celebration of successful business practices in China, but Mariët Elshof, general manager of BenCham, said that the event is also "the witness to stronger connections between two economies."

Webpower, a Dutch marketing automation company, wins the De Wolf Best Team Award.

Webpower, a Dutch marketing automation company, wins the De Wolf Best Team Award.