• Published by, 07th Jan 2018 in category Bank / Finance / Insurance in English

    Zurich Insurance, Switzerland’s largest insurer, is seeking a joint venture partner in China, as the country’s recent easing of financial sector rules, tempts it to return to the mainland’s life insurance market which it quit five years ago. “We have ambitions to grow in mainland China, which is a very big market with huge business opportunities,” Jack Howell, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Zurich Insurance, told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. The insurer previously had a 20% stake in New China Life Insurance, which it sold in 2013. It currently operates a wholly owned general insurance company, Zurich General Insurance Company (China), which offers property, corporate and other commercial risk insurance. “We have ambitions to grow in mainland China, which is a very big market with huge business opportunities,” Jack Howell, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Zurich Insurance, told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. In November 2017, China announced that it would relax the 50% cap on foreign ownership in life insurance joint ventures so that overseas investors could own a majority 51% stake in three years’ time, with the cap completely removed two years later.

  • Published by, 06th Jan 2018 in category General Interest in English

    In Beijing, the 18th Swiss School abroad, which will be recognized by Bern, has opened its doors. The values there, such as independent learning, self-initiative and creativity are expected from China's rulers.So few ones have been so honest: “I am a crazy chicken” said Cécile Ottiger about herself. This primary teacher has not experienced a classic life path. Though she had under her wings the first and second year classes of a primary school in Oberuzwil in Saint-Gall during 36 years until last summer. But then she moved into the wide world. Since a few month ago, she teaches in the Swiss School in Beijing, which has been officially inaugurated on 30 October. “Every day is a new adventure.”, says Ms.Ottiger, who has never experienced China before. In seek of change in her life, she was almost forced to anticipate this step with attention and curiosity.

  • Published by, 01st Jan 2018 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    Nestle is weighing up the options for one of its dairy plants in China. The world's largest food maker is considering the future of a factory in Hulunbuir, a city in Inner Mongolia, a province in north-eastern China. The facility, one of four dairy sites Nestle has in China, manufactures raw milk powder. The China Daily newspaper claimed Nestle is planning to sell the plant and has held talks with local business Ningxia Saishang Dairy Co. Approached by just-food and asked if Nestle is looking to sell the factory, a spokesperson for the country's business in China said: "Due to market changes, Nestle Hulunbuir Dairy Factory is seeking a solution to make our dairy business continuously sustainable. We are reviewing different options in consultation with relevant stakeholders. There are no specific details to share at this stage. We hope to find a solution that is in the best interests of all concerned parties." The spokesperson added: "Dairy is an important component of Nestlé's product offering and business operations in China. We remain fully committed to building a healthy and sustainable dairy business, with significant investments made in support of this ambition."

  • Published by, 01st Jan 2018 in category Bilateral Relations in English

    Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday sent a congratulatory message to Alain Berset on his election as president of Switzerland. In his message, Xi said that with joint efforts, the China-Swiss innovative strategic partnership becomes more energetic and effective, and the friendship has gained popular support in the two countries. Xi said he highly values the development of the relationship between China and Switzerland, and is willing to work with President Berset to develop bilateral cooperation in various fields to a new level, so as to better benefit the two countries and two peoples.

  • Published by, 24th Dec 2017 in category Legal / Tax / Consulting / Services in English

    PwC unveils key metrics highlighting the rapid rise of eSports – competitive video gaming events - in China.  Already the third largest market globally, PwC data shows that over the next four years, eSports in China is on course to extend by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.4%, rising from USD 56 million in 2016, and is estimated to be worth USD 182 million by 2021. Figures from PwC chart the dynamic expansion of eSports in China, now the second largest market in Asia. Currently, only the Republic of Korea generates more value in the region, which itself is expected to reach USD 195 million by 2021, albeit with a lower CAGR of 13.9% over the next four years.  The U.S. is still the largest national market by value, anticipated to be worth USD 299 million by 2021, aided by a buoyant 22.6% GAGR.“The evolution of eSports is incredibly exciting and it’s unfolding at a staggering scale here in China. As a recent example, last week, the World Championship finals for League of Legends (LoL) - among the most popular video games in China - filled the national stadium in Beijing. And yet ticket sales are just the tip of the iceberg, with millions more watching the finals at home via live streaming, indicating the vast size and range of opportunities that await in this dynamic area.” Said Frank Cai, PwC China Assurance partner.According to the PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017 - 2021 (E&M Outlook), the upward trend of eSports in China correlates with the nation’s booming video game market, which generated revenues of USD 15.4 billion in 2016, and is on track to rival the US – currently the largest market - by 2021, by which time a value of USD 26.2bn is predicted to have been reached.


  • Published by, 21st Dec 2017 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    A sales surge at luxury goods group Richemont has highlighted the recovery in top-end Swiss mechanical watches as the sector brushes off the threat posed by Apple and other makers of smartwatches. Richemont’s watch sales in the six months to September 30 were 15% higher than the same period a year earlier, the Swiss group reported on 10 November. Together with a stronger performance in jewellery, the rebound helped lift operating profits by 46% to EUR 1.17bn. Swiss watchmaking has been hit in recent years by sluggish global economic growth, excessive inventory, a clampdown on corruption in China — as well as the rise of the Apple Watch. But this year, the trends have largely gone into reverse. Richemont, whose brands include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Montblanc, said most of its markets were “in positive territory”, led by mainland China, Korea, the UK and “notably a return to growth” in Hong Kong, the largest export market for Swiss watches. Sales in the UK had been boosted by the weak pound since the country voted to leave the EU. The results were flattered, however, by exceptional measures a year ago to reduce excessive inventory, when Richemont bought back watches and destroyed them. Excluding the prior period’s one-time charges of EUR 249m, largely related to the buybacks, operating profits increased 11%.

  • Published by, 17th Dec 2017 in category EM in Chinese

    ABB showcased its factory automation solutions and ABB Ability™ Connected Services including robotics, smart sensors, and energy efficient motors and drives systems at the 19th China International Industry Fair (CIIF). The company also showcased three new products and solutions at its 1,300 square meter exhibition booth (booth number: 8.1H-E001) at the National Exhibition and Convention Center, Shanghai. The company’s exhibit highlights the connectivity and integration of ABB automation technologies in smart factories, which support Chinese manufacturers at a critical time in the continued transformation of the industry. Under the "Made in China 2025" strategic plan, a new round of technological upgrades and industrial transformation will promote rapid changes in the industrial field. Smart manufacturing, featured with information technology and the accelerated integration of the manufacturing industry will, in turn, increase China’s economic development and growth. Chinese manufacturers are moving to highly flexible, increasingly digital intelligent production systems in their shift to the high end of the industrial value chain.

  • Published by, 12th Dec 2017 in category General Interest in English

    A shot of Macallan whisky purportedly made in 1878 that a Chinese man paid USD 10,000 for at a Swiss hotel was actually distilled between 1970 and 1972. The forgery was discovered after Scottish whisky experts travelled to Switzerland to conduct tests, 20 Minuten reported.It finally lays to rest the speculation over the malt’s authenticity that arose when the story broke in August.It began when a young Chinese customer entered the Devil's Place Whisky Bar at the luxury Waldhaus Hotel in St Moritz, northeastern Switzerland, and expressed particular interest in rare Macallans. The bar, which has a whisky collection, mentioned in the Guinness Book ofWorld Records, had 47 options, ranging from CHF 7 to CHF 10,000 per glass.The customer chose the bottle marked as an 1878 vintage, which went for CHF 9,999 (USD 10,000) for a two-centilitre measure. According to the online news site, specialists at Rare Whisky 101, who regularly serve as consultants at whisky auctions, established that the bottle's label was a fake. They said carbon dating had shown that the malt had actually been distilled between 1970 and 1972. After discovering the forgery, the proprietor of the Waldhaus, Sandro Bernasconi, travelled to Beijing to apologize to the customer and refund him, the paper said.“It is customary in China to admit your faults,” 20 Minuten quoted him as saying. Bernasconi said it was also important to show that "the Swiss are honest people and do not engage in scams".

  • Published by, 01st Dec 2017 in category Culture & Society in English

    Presented from 29 October to 29 November at the Kunming Museum, this exhibition is entitled Days of a Swiss Pioneer in China. It traces the work of Mr. Otto Meister, who worked from 1903 to 1909 in the Yunnan part of the Yunnan Vietnam Railway, one of the most spectacular railway projects of the last century. She presents photos, private correspondence and other historical documents, fruit of collaboration between the authorities of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, and Mrs. Sylvia MEISTER, granddaughter of the engineer. This event also celebrates the 35th anniversary of the twinning between Zurich and Kunming.

  • Published by, 25th Nov 2017 in category BUSINESS NEWS in English

    The number of workers in the Swiss photovoltaic industry has almost halved in the past five years. China, which now has 80% of the global market share, continues to undercut the European market. On 2 November, Meyer Burger, a Swiss solar equipment maker, announced it would discontinue manufacturing at its Thun headquarters by the end of the year, partly relocating to China. This cost-efficiency programme is expected to result in around 180 job losses, mainly in solar panel production. This downsizing continues a trend that began five years ago. In 2011, some 11,000 people were employed in the Swiss photovoltaic industry in production, installation, and research and development. By last year, the figure had dropped to 5,500. What’s going on? According to José Martin at Swissolar, the decrease in production is due to price pressure exerted by Chinese manufacturers – not only in Switzerland, but also in Germany, which was the global leader in the sector until 2015. However, while Swiss manufacturers are hurting, installers, inspectors and maintenance workers are benefiting from the number of solar panels being imported. “Their number has increased and should continue to do so over the coming years,” Martin told Swiss public television, RTS. More and more Swiss roofs are covered in Chinese solar panels. In the first half of 2017, Switzerland imported CHF 85 million (USD 85 million) worth of panels, of which more than a quarter (CHF 23 million) were from China. The Swiss domestic market, which was at the forefront of the photovoltaic sector in the 1990s, is struggling. Turnover has fallen from more than CHF 2 billion in 2011 to some CHF 900 million in 2015.