SVEN RISKÆR’S SPEECH IN LHASA, 10. FEB 2004
Carlsberg – Lhasa Brewery Joint Venture.
1. With great pleasure, I would like to congratulate the successful co-operation between Lhasa Brewery and Carlsberg at this stage, which is a milestone for the Sino-Danish business relationship that extends from the Eastern costal areas to the very hinterland of Western China.
2. The first time my colleagues and I landed in Lhasa in September 2002, we were amazed by the Tibetan people, the culture, and many other things of Tibet that we had imagined many times. Yet we could not truly vision the beauty until we saw them with our own eyes.
3. The purpose of our visit was to follow up on the decision by the Chinese government to “go west” in order to enhance economic growth and social development in Tibet and other regions in the western part of China. We think that Danish companies through investments can make a good contribution to this objective just as they have done in the coastal regions of China since the beginning of the “open door policy” in 1978.
4. Thanks to the introduction by the Tibetan Department of China’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, my colleagues and I had the pleasure to visit Lhasa Brewery, where we were warmly received by General Manager Mr. Yue who generously offered us a bottle of Lhasa beer and a bottle of Barley Beer, which tastes different from any other beers we have tried.
5. By tasting the good Tibetan beer and learning about Mr. Yue’s vision for the future of Lhasa Brewery, we got the inspiration to try to match-make Lhasa Beer with Carlsberg, who is one of the leading breweries globally, and with whom IFU has had excellent co-operation in many other countries. Upon our return to Denmark, we immediately contacted Carlsberg, who showed strong interest in Lhasa Brewery and initiated their investigation in co-operation with Lhasa Brewery.
6. Now, after only 1½ year, we are back in Tibet to celebrate the day that we have expected with enthusiasm since our first visit, to celebrate that Carlsberg as the first Danish investor finds its home at “the roof of the world”, and to celebrate that beer-lovers from the other parts of China and other countries may have the possibility to taste a beer made from clean water from the roof of the world.
7. I believe that this could be the beginning of successful investment co-operation between Danish and local enterprises in the Tibet Autonomous Region. IFU is very much looking forward to use the Carlsberg example to encourage more and more enterprises from the two sides to join hands in Tibet for mutual benefits and prosperities, for friendship and for social development and progress.
8. I remember a little girl of nine years, whom I met on my first trip to Lhasa. She walked around in Potala Palace with her grandfather to find foreigners in order to practice her English. It shows a wish of the next generation of Tibetan people to get internationalised and to learn from the rest of the world. This is something I believe that all of us gathered here today will support, and I think Carlsberg deserves a lot of praise for being the first Danish company to stand up for this idea.
9. Congratulations again – I sincerely believe that this project will become a great success!
Managing Director, IFU.