Today we sat down with our Account Manager and Business Developer Lina Andersson to learn more about her.
What do you do as an Account Manager and Business Developer? Which are your main responsibilities?
My main responsibilities are to take care of the majority of our Swedish clients and make sure their needs are cared for. I make sure that all of the orders and projects are running smoothly and I help the clients develop new products and achieve the right type of packaging according to their needs. I also work to develop the Swedish market and find new clients. But mostly my work is about keeping a good relationship with our current clients. I’m basically the link between the client and the production of their products.
I started the first of December last year, so I’ve been here for a year almost, time has gone so fast!
What did you do before you started at Swedbrand?
Before I started at Swedbrand I worked for a digital start-up where I was a project manager and helped them develop their product. I did a lot of quality checks and market research, and I also handled the few clients we had. Developing a product and really being involved in the production process is something I love. Working for a startup was very interesting, but after a year of constantly going back to the drawing board (5 years in), it really felt like it was more work then gain, so I decided to look for a new challenge and here I am!
How and why did you choose to work at Swedbrand?
When you are an expat so far away from home, you try to keep a small connection in some way with your home country, and this company, being founded by two Swedes and the position taking care of the Swedish market, was perfect for me. Also, as soon as I walked in here I really felt like this was the place for me. It’s very energetic in the office and the coworkers are all quite young. And it’s also a majority of women, which I think is amazing! It’s such an inspiring environment!
Describe Swedbrand with three words:
How long have you been in China?
I just celebrated my third year anniversary here, in August! It feels a bit strange, because when I first came I had just finished school and didn’t have any big plans for the future. And then I got a request from a fellow alumni to apply for an internship in China. What was supposed to last for 1-3 months became 8, and now three years later I’m still here! (she laughs).
I love living here and the companies in China have a much younger mentality than in Europe, everything keeps on changing and developing, which is something I love.
What have you learned from living here?
What I’ve learned isn’t just from living in China, but more generally from moving abroad. You have to let go of your ideas of the world, how it works and what’s important. You quickly realize how much people from different countries can really connect, and how much alike we are. Of course you’re still connected to your country and the people from there, but when you move abroad you notice that things aren’t as quite as square as you once believed. This life abroad fits me perfectly because I have the opportunity to make my own ideas and frames of life.
The most important thing is that you realize that things can work in the opposite way of how you once believed, but it still works perfectly. So everything doesn’t need to be in just one way, it can be in so many different ways and still work!
Do you have any tips for someone thinking about moving to China or Shanghai? What should they be prepared for?
It’s important that you don’t get too carried away with the craziness here. Life here is much more intense and people are always on the move. You get close to people really fast so you also lose friends when they leave, because few stay here forever. It can be hard to handle in the beginning, but you have to see it as gaining friends all over the world. You also have to be open to the fact that people are different, of course you might get annoyed and irritated, but try to see the humour in it instead and just accept that you too are different!
Where else in the world have you lived before?
When I was studying I lived in Brussels for one term. I loved it! But what is most interesting is that when you live or travel around Europe your expectations are much higher and you expect things to be more similar to your own country and culture. And then you come to China and you don’t think you will have anything in common with these people but you actually realize that there are much more things you have in common with them than you thought. So the different expectations are really interesting.
I can see myself living in Hong Kong in the future, my second happy place. A part of me has also always wanted to live in the US. I have never been there but would love to go! I’m very open to this, because if you can imagine it you can make it happen. So we will see where I end up next!
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to stay in China for a while, I have no plans to leave at least, I trust that I will feel when it’s the right time to leave. I have never had that kind of detailed plan for life, I take it as it comes and don’t stress about it. Everything has its time, and I feel like I am exactly where I should be today. If you stress you are always looking for the next step and can’t really enjoy what you have now. So I enjoy where I am today.
What do you miss from Sweden?
Since here in Shanghai we live in a concrete jungle, I really miss the nature from home. Being able to just walk outside and roam around, since we in Sweden have something called “every man’s right to roam” in the nature! The fresh air, the quietness… and of course my family and friends! And seafood! (She laughs).
What do you do in your free time?
Since living in Shanghai is so different and the language barrier is a problem, as an expat you end up living in a bubble with the other expats. You get a different kind of connection as well, since here you can go out and meet people anywhere, and the next day you are friends! So Shanghai really is a social hub and the social life here is very strong. In other words, perfect for me who loves being social and meeting new people!
I also love to try new restaurants and go on small trips. But, in contrast, I also love being alone sometimes, taking walks, writing, practicing yoga and painting.
Do you have any hidden skills?
I’m an amazing chef and love to cook! I can paint, I’m very creative. And I can also dance and act!