China's total energy consumption in 2009, including energy sources ranging from oil and coal to wind and solar power, was equal to 2.265 billion tons of oil and became the largest energy consumer of the world, compared with 2.169 billion tons used by the U.S. Building energy uses account for 20.7% of China’s total consumption in 2004. Chinese academics estimate that the buildings sector will exceed 30% total energy consumption by 2010 with the existing building area of 40 billion m2 and new construction annually 2 billion m2. By year 2015, half of the world’s new building construction will take place in China; more than one-half of China’s urban residential and commercial building stock in 2015 will likely be constructed after the year 2000.

To mitigate the global warming and environmental degradation and to support the China’s sustainable development and, since 2006, VTT started to cooperate with Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in the filed of energy efficient buildings with the signed MoU 2006 DUT-VTT. In spring 2007, a Finnish High-Tech EcoCity® concept for Chinese market was introduced by VTT. In winter 2007, one MoU was signed between Tongji and Tekes on 16.11.2007: Memorandum of understanding for the cooperation between Tongji University and Tekes for joint research, development and industrialization of sustainable community technology.

In summer 2008, Addendum to the memorandum of understanding between Tongji University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland was signed on 28.5.2008. Efforts of these EcoCity developments have support on highest political and administrative level from both sides. Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) supports strongly the concept, solution and technology development with an eCiTe project.

Referring to the Memorandum of Understanding signed July 2009 for China-Finland cooperation in High-Technology between the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy of the Republic of Finland (MEE) include focus areas like new energy and energy savings. During the visit to Tongji University in November 2009, a cooperation framework agreement has been signed between VTT and Tongji University. One subcontract was made between VTT and Tongji University in terms of feasibility studies on the competence of Finnish products in China. The latest framework agreement between VTT and Tongji was signed in August, 2010, with focus on eco neighbourhood development.

Benchmarks of VTT’s activities regarding EcoCity project development in China are summarized below:

  • 2006 DUT-VTT MoU (in Dalian)

  • 2006-2007 Very low energy building DEMO (in Dalian)

  • 2007 VTT High-Tech EcoCity® concept for Chinese market

  • 2007 Beijing EcoCity project launched(in Beijing)

  • 2008 VTT-Tongji Addendum to MoU (in Shangahi)

  • 2009 MEE-MCPR MoU

  • 2009 Eco Research on Residential Building cooperated with Tongji (in Shangahi)

  • 2009 eCiTe project funded by Tekes to prompt EcoCity in China

  • 2009 VTT-Tongji Framework agreement (FA) (in Shangahi)

  • 2010 Tongji delegation visited VTT (April)

  • 2010 VTT-Tongji Framework Agreement on Eco Neighbourhood

  • 2010 Beijing delegation visited VTT (August)

  • 2010 Finnish EcoCity delegation visit China (September)

However, there is an increasing and urgent need to build localized theoretical foundation and to find out eco efficient solutions in order to support the implementation of the concept of High-Tech EcoCity. This is valid both for Chinese and Finnish companies. In addition, to facilitate and accelerate the industrial networking and collaboration, there is a need to strengthen the practical collaboration between VTT and Tongji University (Tongji), Dalian University of Technology (DUT), Shenyang Jianzhu University (SJZU) and Beijing Institute for Real Estate Science and Technology (BIREST) in China. This research collaboration would serve as the platform of social capital for both sides and as the scientific back-up.