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Peter Pronk (Director of EU SME Centre)

Peter Pronk

Director of EU SME Centre

Peter, who is originally from the Netherlands, has been working with China since 1995. He gained a strong knowledge and network within the Chinese business and SOE environment. Since 2004 he developed a relationship between a Dutch wind turbine manufacturer and China Academy of Launch and Vehicle Technology (CALT). He moved to China with his wife and youngest child in 2008 to be the Director of a marketing and sales company of wind turbines in China (BECD). In 2011, Peter started his own consultancy firm to help European SMEs do business with China.

During 2012 to 2017 Peter was the executive board member and Vice President of BenCham. From 2016 to 2017, he was the General Manager of BenCham. Peter was also appointed as a member of the European Chamber for two years as the Netherlands representative.

Peter has three sons, one daughter, and two granddaughters living in Europe.

Jean Marie Avezou (DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at European Commission)

Jean Marie Avezou

DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at European Commission

Jean-Marie AVEZOU is Principal Administrator in the European Commission's Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). Within the Directorate in charge of SME Policy, he is following SME Internationalization issues, focusing on business support services and specific network helping SMEs going international.

Having joined the European Commission 23 years ago, Jean-Marie AVEZOU has been posted to the European Union Delegation to China as Minister Counsellor between 2012 and 2015 (representing DG Enterprise and Industry). Before being posted in Beijing, he occupied various functions as Administrator in DG Enterprise and Industry (following competitiveness, international and trade issues) and DG Energy and Transport (dealing with nuclear international relations).

Ester Cañada Amela (Advocacy and Working Group Manager at EU SME Centre)

Ester Cañada Amela

Advocacy and Working Group Manager at EU SME Centre

With a background in languages and international relations, Ester Cañada Amela is a policy expert with both working and academic experience in multiple countries. As the Advocacy Manager at the EU SME Centre, she currently coordinates the advocacy activities of the EU SME Centre through liaising with business and government stakeholders, managing the Inter-Chamber SME Working Group, and producing reports on SME policies in China.

Ester Cañada Amela has a BA on Social and Institutional Translation from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and a Double Master’s Degree on European Affairs and International Politics from Sciences Po Paris and Fudan University. Prior to joining the EU SME Centre, she had professional experiences at the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and at the European Institute for the Mediterranean (IEMed).

Marco Chirullo (Head of Unit at DG Trade, Far East Asia)

Marco Chirullo

Head of Unit at DG Trade, Far East Asia

Before Marco Chirullo served as a deputy head of the Trade Section at the EU Delegation in Brasilia, where he followed EU-Brazil and EU-Mercosur trade relations.

Before joining the Delegation in Brasilia in 2009, Mr Chirullo was responsible for bilateral trade relations with Japan, Australia and New Zealand in DG Trade in Brussels.
Prior to joining the European Commission, Mr Chirullo has worked in the private sector for a number of years providing legal and political advices to governments and companies on trade-related issues. He has also worked for the Institute of International Affairs in Rome as a researcher on WTO and trade and development issues.
Mr Chirullo holds a Diploma of advanced studies on European integration (College of Europe, Bruges) as well as a Specialisation in International Trade (Université Libre de Bruxelles / École de Commerce de Solvay).

Valentin De Le Court (China IPR SME Helpdesk)

Valentin De Le Court

China IPR SME Helpdesk

Valentin de le Court is a Belgian intellectual property lawyer with more than twelve years of experience in the IP field, including four years of practice in China where he worked for Chinese boutique IP firm.
His area of expertise covers contentious and non-contentious IP matters relating to patents and trademarks, trade secrets protection and management, and China related IP strategies and technology transfer.
Over the past years Valentin has assisted European MNCs and SMEs active in a wide range of sectors (semiconductors, automotive, mobile gaming, oil & gas, digital communication, F&B, fashion, medical device and design) with their China related IP issues.
Today he co-heads the IP/IT team and leads the China IP Desk at DALDEWOLF, a full service Belgian business law firm. Valentin is fluent in French, Dutch and English.

Alexis De Méyère (Director of the Global Tax & Tansfer Pricing (GTP) at PWC)

Alexis De Méyère

Director of the Global Tax & Tansfer Pricing (GTP) at PWC

• Alexis joined the PwC’s in 2008 and is a Director of the Global Tax & Tansfer Pricing (GTP) team at PwC Belgium.
• From 2012 to 2014, Alexis has relocated to Shanghai within the tax team where he focused on BEPS challenges and, large domestic and cross-border projects for multinational companies in their international tax and transfer pricing challenges.

• Alexis has obtained extensive experience in various transfer pricing topics, including coordination of various documentation projects, comparable searches, negotiation of APA’s, IP migration, assistance and global tax structuring during transfer pricing audits and this from a Belgian, Chinese and international perspectives. He has also obtained experience in the coordination of large cross-border projects.
• Some of his recent assignments include dismantlement of commissionaires, transformation of procurement function, CBCR, mutual agreement procedures, bilateral APAs, termination of a cost contribution arrangement, financial modelling and allocation of profits to permanent establishments. Alexis also has recent experiences in business restructuring processes within multinational enterprises in M&A and IP migration contexts and assisted industrial players in setting up principals in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Macao and co-entrepreneur model between the Asia Pacific region and European jurisdictions.

Minjuan Deng (COTRI)

Minjuan Deng


Dr. Minjuan Deng-Westphal is an accomplished researcher with more than 10 years of working experience in the field of Chinese outbound travel. She has an outstanding record and extensive experience working with leading tourism organisations, both in the public and private sectors, as well as across a wide range of tourism-related industries, offering practical advice, business consulting, and research support. These businesses cover but are not limited to hotels, tourist attractions, tour operators, marketing representation, and advisory boards on a global level. She has been living and working internationally for decades, having been based in diverse locations such as China, Australia, and Germany. In her current position as the Head of Research at COTRI, she leads major research projects and content production for influential publications such as the COTRI Market Report.

Domenico Di Liello (Business Development Advisor at EU SME Centre)

Domenico Di Liello

Business Development Advisor at EU SME Centre

Domenico has over 6 years of international business experience in advising foreign companies in market access and business development in China. He has authored plenty of market reports and coordinated research projects analyzing the evolving economic and socio-cultural aspects of doing business in China. Domenico has served European companies in the food and beverage, cosmetics and green tech industries.

Michele Genovese (Advisory Board Member at ENRICH)

Michele Genovese

Advisory Board Member at ENRICH

Mr. Genovese started his professional career working for IRFIS an Italian Mid-Term Loans Industrial Development Bank, developing financial and technical analysis of industrial projects (1973/81).
From 1981 to 1992 he worked at the European Parliament for the Committees across different sectors, such as: Regional policy; Development and cooperation; Environment, Health and Consumers protection among others.
He was then employed by the Commission of the E.U. - DG Research and Technological Development, in the sector of International cooperation, where he worked from 1993 to 2013 on a wide variety of research projects, from science policy relationship to Cultural Heritage, Environment and Renewable Energies. from 2006 to 2012, he was project officer in charge of RTD international cooperation projects with China, India and the West Balkans.
During all these years he cooperated in the drafting of FP International Cooperation Work programmes, in the participation in information days on the EU policies and in assuring contacts and exchanges within the EU Commission (ICT, Environment, Transport, Enterprise, External Relations…), with the Council of Ministers and with the European Parliament. He was also in charge of the organisation of RTD projects evaluations including the selection of experts, chairing of evaluation panels and selection procedures, contracts negotiation, follow up of the implementation of projects. After retirement he has cooperated with APRE and other Organisations for the promotion of European Research and has been appointed in the Advisory or Steering Committee of several research and innovation projects.

Ian Hu (Managing Director and Senior Adviser of ING Bank)

Ian Hu

Managing Director and Senior Adviser of ING Bank

Jan Hu is currently Managing Director and Senior Adviser to ING Bank Beijing. Jan started his career as Legal Adviser to the Dutch Law firm Nauta Dutilh in October 1988, advising Chinese companies doing business in the Netherlands and other European countries and vice versa. Jan joined ING Bank Head Office in June 1991 and worked in international credit department, trade and commodities finance department and structured project finance department.

Ludmila Hyklova (EU SME Centre Expert)

Ludmila Hyklova

EU SME Centre Expert

Ludmila has been involved in legal consulting on international investment and cooperation for more than 18 years, of which 10 in China. When working at EU SME Centre in Beijing, she was in charge of providing legal advice on various investment and export related issues to European SMEs looking to establish themselves in the Chinese market.
After working as legal counsellor for multinational corporations in Europe, Ludmila moved to China as a head of legal department for a European financial group. She was part of the start-up team building the company and its business and developing it into a group of companies employing several thousands of employees across China. She has focused mainly on foreign investment, labour and corporate law. Currently she uses her experience working for Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Thomas Jin (Deputy General Manager at ICBC (Europe), Brussels Branch)

Thomas Jin

Deputy General Manager at ICBC (Europe), Brussels Branch

Mr. Thomas Jin (Weihuang JIN) is the Deputy General Manager of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Europe) S.A. Brussels branch. He joined ICBC since 1992, and won his reputation in international banking business through his over two-decade continuous working experience in this area. From October 2003, Mr. Jin was promoted to Deputy General Manager of International Banking Department of Guangdong Branch, a branch renowned for its abundant, innovative and well-developed international business.
From March 2010, Mr. Jin worked as the Deputy Head of ICBC Amsterdam Branch Preparatory Group, and from 2011 to 2018, he served as the Deputy General Manager of ICBC Amsterdam Branch. Early 2019 he moved to Brussels to be the Deputy General Manager of ICBC Brussels Branch.
He is a member of the Trade Finance Expert Team of ICBC Head Office, China International Chamber of Commerce as well as DOCDEX (Documentary Credit Dispute Resolution Expertise) of International Chamber of Commerce. When in Amsterdam, he also served as a board member of Dutch Foreign Bankers Association and Advisory Committee Member of International Business Foundation Amsterdam.

Dirk Vantyghem (Director of EUROCHAMBRES)

Dirk Vantyghem


Director at Eurochambres, Dirk is also a board member of the EU SME Centre since 2014. Senior Executive with extensive experience in EU public affairs, Consultancy and Project Management, his key areas of competence are trade, industry, SME development, economic diplomacy, EU enlargement, and more including China. Dirk has an economic background and holds a master’s degree from the College of Europe in Bruges.

EUROCHAMBRES is the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, representing a network of 45 national and 1,700 local Chambers, with nearly 20 million member companies.

Yuhua Yang (LLinks Law Firm)

Yuhua Yang

LLinks Law Firm

Ms. Yuhua YANG graduated from Peking University with an LL.B. degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. She received an LL.M. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certificate of Study in Business and Public Policy from Wharton School in 2006. In 2004 and 2005 Ms. Yang participated in the Lord Chancellor’s Training Scheme for Young Chinese Lawyers, a program run by the English legal professions. During that period she worked at various law firms in London and Hong Kong. In 2006 and 2007 she worked at a New York law firm.

Haiyan Zhang (Associate Professor at NEOMA Business School)

Haiyan Zhang

Associate Professor at NEOMA Business School

Dr. Haiyan Zhang is associate professor at NEOMA Business School and director of the NEOMA Confucius Institute for Business. He holds a MA and a Ph.D. in public administration and Management from the University of Antwerp.
His research interests include international business activities of Chinese and overseas Chinese owned enterprises, management issues of international joint ventures in transition economies, high-tech industrial agglomeration in China, Chinese outward FDI in Europe, EU-China FDI relations, etc. He has published in journals such as the Management International Review and has contributed to books on foreign direct investment in China and the internationalisation of Chinese multinational enterprises.
He has consulted for trade associations, government institutions and multinational companies on various topics, such as US direct investment in Belgium, strategic management of bilateral cooperation with Chinese local authorities, merger and acquisition in China, etc. He has often participated in high level debates about EU-China investment relationship at EU institutions and think tank organizations. He has been also interviewed by a large number of Chinese, Belgian and international newspapers and Radio and TV channels, such as People’s China, Trends, New York Times, China Radio International, Euro News, European Parliament TV, etc.

Thijs van der Toom (NextportChina)

Thijs van der Toom


In 2013 Thijs co-founded NextportChina, a digital full-service agency focused on the Chinese market. Back then the company was the first of its kind in the Benelux. Now 6 years later NextportChina has grown into the go-to agency for companies that want to reach their Chinese target group. So far Thijs and his passionate team of Chinese and Dutch professionals have served over 200 European brands with building their online presence in China on platforms like WeChat, Sina Weibo, Baidu, Douyin and Xiaohongshu.

During his presentation Thijs will zoom in on China’s super app WeChat. He will explain how the app works and introduce the audience to the powerful WeChat ecosystem. Via case studies he will show how EU companies can successfully leverage WeChat as a branding and promotion tool and sell their products via cross-border WeChat Mini Program shops. After this presentation you will better understand why the lives of more than a billion Chinese people are now totally intertwined with WeChat!