• Published by, 10th Sep 2018 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    Cartier maker Richemont said sales of its watches and jewellery rose 10% in the five months to 31 August, helped by strong demand in Asia Pacific and the Americas. Swiss watchmakers have seen sales rebound strongly after a severe downturn, but some investors now fear Chinese luxury demand could have peaked and rising trade tensions could take their toll. "Hong Kong, Korea and Macau all generated double digit increases while China showed good growth," the world's second biggest luxury goods group said in a statement released ahead of its annual general meeting in Geneva. It did not provide an outlook for the rest of the year. Sales in constant currency rose 10% in the period, while sales at actual exchange rates were up 7%, Richemont said, which on Monday also appointed Jerome Lambert as chief executive. Including recently acquired Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) and, sales were up 25% at constant exchange rates and 22% at actual rates.

  • Published by, 05th Sep 2018 in category Bilateral Relations in English

    Chinese companies are free to acquire counterparts in Switzerland, but China imposes restrictions on its soil. Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann says he will push for a level playing field during a forthcoming trip to China. But Schneider-Ammann is more optimistic than other ministerial colleagues that the situation will improve. Last month, Communications Minister Doris Leuthard told the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper that Switzerland should insist on reciprocity, pointing to a tough line taken on the issue in Germany. “We must do what Germany did many years ago, which is hold a discussion on how to react in the face of Chinese firms’ hunger for takeovers,” she declared. Currently, Chinese rules only allow Swiss firms to have joint ventures with Chinese companies. Ahead of his visit to China, Schneider-Ammann gave a more placatory message to Swiss public television, SRF, on Wednesday. While acknowledging that the unequal takeover treatment is a real problem, the minister said progress is being made. “It is my understanding that it is only a matter of time before China must also allow the majority of shares to be given over,” he told SRF. “I am sure that they will get to where we currently are.” For this reason, the level playing field issue will not take a special place in his discussions with the Chinese authorities during his trip.

  • Published by, 28th Aug 2018 in category Business in English

    On 27 August, Hainan Airlines announced the formal launch of service between Shenzhen and Zurich. The service is the first non-stop flight connecting China's Guangzhou-Shenzhen area with Switzerland, and is also the airline's 7th intercontinental flight originating from Shenzhen. The airline will operate a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the new route with two round-trip flights per week. Hainan Airlines flight HU741, the inaugurate flight of the carrier's new Shenzhen-Zurich service, took off from Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport at 1:20 am on 27 August Beijing time, and successfully landed at Zurich Airport the same day, at 7:55 am local time. Hainan Airlines spokesman said, "The non-stop Shenzhen-Zurich service will bring more convenience to passengers traveling on business and for leisure, further promoting the development of the economies, cultures and tourism of the two countries, while offering more opportunities for collaboration between companies in European countries and in China." In 2018, Hainan Airlines launched the Shenzhen-Brussels, Shenzhen-Madrid, Shenzhen-Tianjin-Vancouver, Guangzhou-Tel Aviv and Shenzhen-Zurich services in China's Guangzhou-Shenzhen area, and is scheduled to launch the Shenzhen-Vienna service on 20 October.

  • Published by, 26th Aug 2018 in category Engineering / Manufacturing in English

    Swiss freight forwarding and logistics firm, Kuehne + Nagel has announced a partnership with Sincero, a Chinese automotive logistics group with a nation-wide operation coverage, to invest in a joint venture focusing on contract logistics for the automotive sector. Kuehne + Nagel will hold the majority share of the joint venture. Gianfranco Sgro, member of the Managing Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for Contract Logistics, commented: “Contract logistics for the automotive industry is a strategic focus area for Kuehne + Nagel globally and especially in China, the biggest automotive market. The joint venture confirms Kuehne + Nagel’s position as a leading international provider of automotive logistics in China. Following the recent launch of our digital platform for e-fulfilment centres in China this investment further strengthens our presence in Asia.” In recent years, Kuehne + Nagel has been developing a strong automotive footprint in the country by ‘organically expanding’ the partnership with premium European brands. The company will now enlarge this footprint by almost 70% serving major Chinese brands and Tier 1 suppliers. The Chinese corporate group Sincero focuses on five divisions: international freight forwarding, automobile logistics, integrated logistics, contract manufacturing and pre-assembly work for precision components for the automobile industry and customer support. Automotive logistics is the largest of these.

  • Published by, 25th Aug 2018 in category Legal / Tax / Consulting / Services in English

    Over 95% of the Chinese population is medically insured, but not all treatments are covered. The “State Council Order 650” also poses new challenges for the approval of products. A market study indicates the current opportunities, risks and advice for SMEs. Due to its growing middle class, advancing urbanisation and the aging population, there is still great, even double-digit growth potential in China for medical technology sales of all kinds. The majority of expenditure is determined by the public health system, on average 650 US dollars per inhabitant: implants and expensive treatments for chronically ill patients are seldom covered by this. Accordingly, manufacturers of medical devices generate more sales than those that manufacture implants. At the same time, a second, purely privately financed system is growing in which high-priced goods are in demand. In June 2014, the State Council Order 650 came into force. The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) now requires that certain innovative product groups be clinically tested. The registration of a MedTech product thus entails higher costs and takes longer, for example between three and five years. For particularly innovative products, there is a fast-track process, for which certain preconditions have to be met. Most Swiss MedTech SMEs enter the Chinese market with the help of Chinese partner companies in order to benefit from their local expertise and network. The Chinese government has also launched a “two invoice” system. The codename “two invoice system” means that only two invoices may be submitted from now on: from the manufacturer to the distributor and from the distributor to the hospital.

  • Published by, 13th Aug 2018 in category Business in English

    Huawei plans to massively expand its presence in Switzerland. The Chinese technology giant intends to open two research centres in Zurich and Lausanne. It will also strengthen corporate services. Switzerland is an important location for Huawei, wrote Patrik Müller in an article for the weekend newspaper Schweiz am Wochenende. Müller interviewed Eric Xu, CEO of the Chinese smartphone and telecommunications technology giant, during a working visit by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard to the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen. Huawei currently employs around 350 people in Switzerland at its site in Dübendorf in the canton of Zurich, but this will rise considerably in the future: “We will employ more people because we will open R&D centres in Zurich and Lausanne,” said Lu. According to the article, the presence of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich and Lausanne was decisive to Huawei’s choice of location. Huawei also requires more employees in Switzerland to “market our services for companies”. In Switzerland, telecommunication providers such as Swisscom and Sunrise use Huawei infrastructure and software products.

  • Published by, 13th Aug 2018 in category General Interest in English

    Zurich Airport has scooped third place in the “Handelszeitung” Airport Ranking 2018. In a repeated run of success, Europe’s best airport was beaten only by Singapore and Hong Kong. Anyone landing at Singapore Changi Airport will make it “from airport to taxi” within 25 minutes, “including immigration control, baggage collection and customs clearance”, writes Claus Schweitzer in the Airport Ranking 2018 published by “Handelszeitung”. It has been “the world’s best airport for years”, and the only negative Schweitzer could find was the complicated WLAN access. In second place, Hong Kong International Airport boasts the “attractive new The Deck lounge with open-air terrace and view over the airfield”. But Zurich Airport too lays claim to an open-air area – and it is among the reasons the airport has once again scooped third place in the ranking. With “around 300,000 visitors annually”, the observation deck is “one of Switzerland’s most popular attractions”, writes Schweitzer. While Zurich also scored well for its “clear signage, predominantly pleasing passenger flow and exemplary connection to public transport”, Schweitzer and the frequent flyers surveyed for the ranking were unhappy with the time-consuming new Automated Border Control gates and the Skymetro, which is often overcrowded. 

  • Published by, 10th Aug 2018 in category Bilateral Relations in English

    Switzerland’s minister for energy Doris Leuthard oversaw the signing of a declaration to build a zero-energy building in Beijing using Swiss cleantech technology. The project called “Swiss House Sunlon” is backed by Swiss companies and will be the first zero energy dwelling in China. The technology used in the building will come from the Swiss cleantech sector and is meant to serve as a showcase for Swiss innovation in the country. The agreement was signed on Thursday in the presence of Leuthard by the Swiss companies and the Chinese partner New Legend. According to the La Liberté paper, the four-storey building will serve as an office for Swiss, Chinese and foreign small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and will have a floor space of almost 18,000 square metres. There will also be conference rooms, exhibition areas and a space for shops. The project cost is estimated at CHF140 million (USD 141 million). The building will be PlusEnergy certified, which means it will produce as much energy as it consumes via technologies already well established in Switzerland by the Minergie A standard. The project still needs to be approved by the local authorities.

  • Published by, 27th Jul 2018 in category Engineering / Manufacturing in English

    The international community has high expectation from the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the business opportunities it presents, as the 100-day countdown of the event begins. "CIIE will bring a very strong exposure to our company, by having high-level government officials, influential trade professionals, including lots of existing and potential customers, and hopefully also the general public which can bring us recruiting opportunities," Laurent Castella, Head of Marketing Region Asia, GF Machining Solutions, said in Shanghai on Thursday. Founded by Gorge Fisher in 1820, during the first industrial revolution, the Swiss company GF is an industrial leader in three main areas: the safe transport of liquids and gases, lightweight casting components in vehicles, and high-precision manufacturing technologies. With rapid technological development, especially digitalization transformation, also called IOT or industrial 4.0, the game will change. The machines will talk to machines and the data collected from the machines will move to the clouds. Artificial intelligence will look at the data and make decisions that human cannot make. GF is also behind this digital transformation, creating a new manufacturing world for tomorrow and the company is working with key universities in the world to develop more intelligent products and more intelligent process and it will bring all these leading technologies into China, Castella said.

  • 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.