Geely’s eventual takeover of Volvo – although widely trumpeted for several months now – does throw up one interesting and potential source of cultural difference.

New Volvo chairman Li Shufu made reference a grand total of three times in the official release today to how he had engaged the unions in discussions which led to today’s US$1.8bn takeover.

Here’s a snapshot of Shufu’s remarks: “Paid tribute to union and government officials with whom Geely built close contacts,” “Vital input of labour representatives” and “The board – which will include three labour representatives nominated by unions at Volvo Cars.”

It’s a fair bet that concepts of unionisation are pretty different in Sweden and China – the former with social justice solidly embedded in its DNA – even at management level and the latter – driven nationally by concepts derived from a political mantra that is completely alien to those in the west.

It’s going to be a fascinating period as this most resolutely Swedish of companies integrates with its new Chinese owners, but the fact Shufu has gone out of his way to accommodate Volvo’s labour organisations should give those in Stockholm real hope.

Union leaders – there are three main organisations – IF Metall, Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjorer – have already visited China in a bid to lay the foundations for social dialogue which is clearly encouraging in its own right.

Shufu obviously recognises the concept of unionisation runs extremely deep in Sweden and he has signalled his clear intention to engage in talks.

And the appointment of Volkswagen Group of America chief executive Stefan Jacoby as president and CEO of Volvo Cars will also provide the unions with some reassurance that their views will be heard from a European perspective.

But ultimately Volvo is now owned by a Chinese company – that although it knows carmaking inside out – will perhaps not have come up against European and particularly Swedish attitudes – to trade unionism.

And this from the new chairman today: “This famous Swedish premium brand will remain true to its core values – as it strengthens the existing European and North American markets and expands its presence in China and other emerging markets.”

That expansion in China and emerging markets will depend to a large extent on peaceful labour relations and Shifu has clearly identified that today.