• Published by, 26th Jul 2018 in category Business in English

    Swiss companies exported machinery product in the value of CHF1.45 billion (USD 1.46 billion) to China and Hong Kong in the first six months of 2018, according to figures released by the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. This represents an increase of 10% compared to the first half of 2017. Nicolas Musy, founder of the Swiss Centers China, said the Asian country’s thirst for automation has increased demand for high-quality machines from the Alpine nation. “Chinese manufacturers upgrade their equipment and automation becomes ever more important. Highest quality machines are in high demand – that is why China will remain a key market for Swiss machinery companies in the coming years,” he said in a statement published on Thursday. Since 2016, Swiss machinery exports to China and Hong Kong have been on the rise. The Chinese market (including Hong Kong) is the third biggest market for Swiss machinery products worldwide. The largest market remains Germany (CHF4.1billion), followed by the United States (CHF1.8 billion). Switzerland exported CHF8.9 billion in goods to China and Hong Kong in the first half of 2018, with imports amounting to CHF7.4 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of CHF1.5 billion. Swiss watches and precision instrument exports boomed in the first half of 2018 to a value of CHF4 billion. That figure represents a 17.5% increase compared to the same period the previous year.

  • Published by, 26th Jul 2018 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    Shares in Switzerland’s Nestlé rose on Thursday after better sales in the US and China helped chief executive Mark Schneider pep up the performance of the world’s largest food and drinks group. The company behind brands such as KitKat, Perrier water and Nescafé coffee reported total sales in the first six months of 2018 had increased 2.8% on an organic, or like-for-like, basis compared with 2.3 % in the same period a year earlier. The pick-up would have been almost 3% without the impact of a protracted truckers’ strike in Brazil. Analysts had expected 2.5% growth. Nestlé’s growth fell in 2017 to the slowest in more than two decades amid shifting consumer trends, slow global economic growth and deflationary price pressures. Adding to the pressure on Mr. Schneider, Third Point — the US activist hedge fund founded by Daniel Loeb — invested USD 3.5 billion in a 1.25% stake in the Swiss group. Earlier this month, Third Point complained Nestlé still had a “muddled strategic approach” and remained “insular, complacent and bureaucratic”. However, Mr. Schneider said the first-half results showed that “our strategic initiatives and rigorous execution are clearly paying off . . . In particular, the US and China markets showed a meaningful improvement”.

  • Published by, 10th Jul 2018 in category Business in English

    China broke into the world's top 20 most-innovative economies as Switzerland retained its number-one spot in the Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking published annually by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Now in its 11th edition, the Global Innovation Index (GII) is a detailed quantitative tool that helps global decision makers better understand how to stimulate the innovative activity that drives ecomomic and human development. The GII ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators, ranging from intellectual property filing rates to mobile-application creation, education spending and scientific and technical publications. Eleven of the top 20 innovating economies come from Europe, including the top three: Switzerland (1st), the Netherlands (2nd), and Sweden (3rd). Switzerland earns the top position in the GII for the eighth consecutive year. It ranked first in various patent and IP-related indicators, as well as second in high- and medium-high-tech manufacturing production. It is among global leaders in R&D spending and quality of local universities. China's number 17 ranking this year represents a breakthrough for an economy witnessing rapid transformation guided by government policy prioritizing research and development-intensive ingenuity. While the United States fell back to number six in the GII 2018, it is an innovation powerhouse that has produced many of the world's leading hi-tech firms and life-changing innovations.

  • Published by, 09th Jul 2018 in category Bilateral Relations in English

    President Xi Jinping has extended his greetings to the opening of the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2018, which opened in the capital of southwestern China's Guizhou province. "Ecological conservation concerns the future of the mankind, and it's the common goal of all nations to build a green home," Xi said in a congratulatory letter to the forum. "China highly values ecological and environmental protection," the president said. Xi said he believed that the annual conference - this year themed "Embracing a new era of eco-civilization: green development with high priority to ecology" - would help all parties strengthen consensus and cooperation for the development of global ecological civilization. The three-day conference includes seven summits, 10 themed forums, five international workshops and international consultation sessions, as well as some featured activities. Besides inviting international stakeholders, the eco forum has made international exchange and cooperation key parts of its agenda. The Sino-Swiss Dialogue, held annually since 2014, brought together guests from both countries for in-depth conversations in fields like technological innovation. "For a long time, Switzerland has paid attention to the relationship between development and environment, and found a successful path of green development for an inland mountainous country like itself. Guizhou should learn from its experience," said Lu Yongzheng, vice-governor of Guizhou.

  • Published by, 07th Jul 2018 in category Business in English

    On 5 July 2018, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services signed a strategic partnership MoU Thursday in Shanghai with Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC) for enhancing economic and innovative cooperation. Both parties agreed to forge a partnership to boost development in countries along the Belt and Road. Mr. Vincent Subilia, deputy director-general of the Geneva Chamber, said the agreement would feature a robust catalyst for growth to benefit the chamber members. “Geneva' s and Swiss' companies would play a more active role in the Belt and Road Initiative,” Subilia added. Ms. Tian Xiaohong, deputy secretary-general of SRCIC, said Geneva not only embraced many companies in high-end industries but gathered resources from all over the world as an important international city. The MoU was one of several agreements signed during a 10-day visit to China by a Geneva business delegation composed of government officials and entrepreneurs.

  • Published by, 04th Jul 2018 in category Bilateral Relations in English

    The Embassy of Switzerland in China is dedicating for the very first time a full week to Swiss innovation from 2 to 6 of July. With digitalization as its main topic, the Swiss Innovation Week (SIW) 2018 featured a number of interactive events and activities to showcase Switzerland’s outstanding technology-driven creation process, its innovative prowess and related mechanisms, especially the bottom-up model. With the aim to reinforce Switzerland ’s leading position as a location for innovation, the SIW also demonstrated the achievements and potentials of bilateral collaboration in this domain between Switzerland and China. The unprecedented Swiss Innovation Week at the embassy featured concrete projects at full spectrum and covered topics in a wide range of areas that were key in the Sino-Swiss bilateral relations, including finance, science, art, research, education, sustainability, as well as humanitarian efforts. The events was held during the week draw special attention to the latest advancements in the field of digitalization, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. A multitude of formats such as product presentations, interactive display, panel discussions and artistic performances made the topic of digitalization easily accessible to visitors. Swiss institutions participating in the SIW included swissnex China, Switzerland Innovation, the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as companies like Nestlé, Mercuria, Caran d'Ache, ABB, Wyeth, Adecco, SIGG and Kingnature.

  • Published by, 28th Jun 2018 in category Bank / Finance / Insurance in English

    Switzerland's largest insurer has blown hot and cold in Asia and China in recent years. The insurer's top man in Asia, Jack Howell, has made clear that Zurich is keen to jump back into the mainland China market, a full five years after offloading New China Life. The remarks represent a pledge to remain in Asia, after reports that Zurich was seeking a partial or full exit. Does Zurich view the 2013 sale as a mistake, then? Not exactly, according to Zurich Chairman Michel Liès. “If you have an outstanding portfolio, but you can't establish or deepen contact with your clients, then a sale is an option,” he told Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung. Zurich has been a quiet acquirer, snapping up Macquarie's retail life insurance protection arm in Australia, MAA Takaful Berhad, a sharia insurance business in Malaysia, and Cover-More, an Australian travel insurer. Last year, Zurich posted a more than 42% drop in pre-tax profit in property and casualty insurance to USD 155 million when reserves from previous years fell away. Its life business hiked profit by more than 73% to USD 132 million. For comparison, Zurich's overall pre-tax profit is USD 3.8 billion. While Howell told the South China Morning Post in January that Zurich would love to get back into China, Liès said that Asia is more than the economic juggernaut. “China is a key part of our strategy in Asia, but it isn't the only market we're looking at.”

  • Published by, 25th Jun 2018 in category Business in English

    Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has opened a branch in Zurich, making it the second major Chinese bank after China Construction Bank to establish a presence in the Zurich financial centre. The branch of Industrial and Commerce Bank of China (ICBC) was officially opened in Zurich on 21 June. In addition to ICBC president Shu Gu and a representative from the China Embassy in Switzerland, Peizhong Chen, other dignitaries to attend the opening included Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer and Swiss National Bank president Thomas Jordan. The business development unit of the Office for Economy and Labour at the Canton of Zurich assisted the bank in establishing its new branch. The move “strengthens the importance of the Zurich financial centre and is a further highlight of the canton’s commitment to promoting trade relations with China,” said Carmen Walker Späh, Head of the Department for Economic Affairs. ICBC is the largest and highest valued bank in the world with over 450,000 employees. The Swiss ICBC branch will be headed by Peichen Chen, who previously served as vice chairman of the bank’s operations in Pakistan. After China Construction Bank (CCB), ICBC is the second Chinese financial institution to establish itself in the Greater Zurich Area. CCB opened a branch in Zurich in October 2015, where it now has around 33 employees.

  • Published by, 20th Jun 2018 in category Engineering / Manufacturing in English

    Clariant AG has opened two new additives facilities in Zhenjiang, China, the Muttenz, Switzerland-based chemicals company announced 20 June. The new facilities, which will be producing synergistic additive solutions AddWorks and micronised waxes Ceridust for plastics, coatings & ink industries, are part of a multi-million-franc investment Clariant announced last year. These will add to the company’s offerings of customised solutions for the plastics, coatings & ink industries. “This completed investment… marks our commitment to expand capability and capacity in China, one of the most important strategic markets for Clariant,” said Christian Kohlpaintner, member of Clariant's executive committee, at the opening ceremony. According to Kohlpaintner, the Swiss chemicals giant is now pursuing “a dedicated strategy” aimed at increasing and sharpening the focus on China. The additional local production capacity in China, said Clariant, will allow to provide “more tailored solutions at shortened lead times”.

  • Published by, 15th Jun 2018 in category Business in English

    The stock market boom boosted personal financial wealth around the globe by 12% last year – to the benefit of Switzerland. It is still the world’s biggest centre for managing offshore wealth at USD 2.3 trillion (CHF 2.3 trillion). Figures revealed in a Boston Consulting Group report published on 14 June put the country ahead of Hong Kong (USD 1.1 trillion) and Singapore (USD 900 billion). The Swiss sum is the equivalent of almost one third of all global overseas wealth. The two Asian centres have grown at yearly rates of 11% and 10% respectively over the past five years, compared with the 3% rate of Switzerland. “Over the next five years, offshore wealth seems likely to continue growing at a (compound annual growth rate) of roughly 5% per year,” the report stated. Large wealth managers including Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are increasingly looking into Asian market because Swiss banking secrecy has been weakened.