Just after Christmas came the news that China’s Geely is buying Cevian’s shares in the Volvo Group and will be a major owner. When Geely bought Volvo Cars in 2010, there were many who doubted the Chinese company’s ability to handle such a large investment. Eight years later the tone has changed – Geely has taken ownership responsibility for Volvo Cars, and that it has now bought into the Volvo Group has sparked mostly positive reactions.
That Gothenburg’s business community has international owners is is rather natural and something that has benfited the region, in the same way that the region has benifited from having local companies competing on the international market. That’s my fundamental attitude. Then, whether it’s Chinese, Indian or American investors in the Gothenburg region, plays less of a role. That we should go towards a more protectionist mentality is not at all desirable.
What Geely wants with its stake in the Volvo Group remains to be seen, but it has been announced there will be no changes in the Volvo Group’s strategies.
The Volvo Group has also been on the agenda as the building committee gave it the green light to go ahead in the detail plan process for Campus Lundby, where the group will later gather all of its Gothenburg based research, development and administration. That Sweden’s largest company groups itself in one place also means that all that expertise will move here, which also builds on the enormous knowledge-base already at Lindholmen. In addition, we see how the Volvo Group wants to open up more in order to connect with the startup scene, which is consistent with what several other actors have done.
I am convinced that this in turn will attract both companies and people to the area. The concentration that’s being created at Lundby-Lindholmen is exceptional and extremely interesting for the future development within the Gothenburg region’s automotive and IT cluster.
Above all, there seems to be something happening that we haven’t seen to the same extent previously. The large companies are opening up to smaller companies. Take AstraZeneca’s BioVentureHub, take Mobility Xlab, take Vecturas and Next Step’s billion kronor investment in a new life science centre in Mölndal, or Sahlgrenska and Johanneberg Science Parks, which have gone into new development phases to stimulate these innovation environments.
In five or ten years, a great deal will be written on the importance of what is happening now.
CEO, Business Region Göteborg