• Published by, 27th Mar 2018 in category Culture & Society in English

    The watch industry is more reliant on digital than ever before as Chinese consumers take to their phones to research their wristwear. Digital Luxury Group released a tool that measures brands’ traction on Chinese social media just in time for Swiss watch show Baselworld 2018. The rankings on DLG’s “China Word of Mouth Index” are updated daily to reflect a watch brand’s word-of-mouth performance on WeChat, Weibo, and Baidu. The score is calculated based on the percentage of posts about luxury watches that mention the brand. Chopard, ranked number one, took more than 16% of the “share of voice” across the three platforms during the opening day of Baselworld. On WeChat alone, Rolex was ahead, with more than 25% of posts about luxury watches referencing the brand. Longines and Omega came second and third in the WeChat rankings, with 13% and 11% respectively. While social media plays a major factor in watch brand marketing in China, Swiss watchmakers are also seeing a major shift in the composition of traffic coming to their official websites. Chinese consumers have surpassed those from the United States as the largest group of visitors, making up 21% of the total traffic.

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

    New Novartis AG Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan aims to more than double the pharmaceutical giant’s sales in China over the next five years and gain faster reimbursement for cutting-edge cancer drugs as the country speeds up approvals. Novartis hopes to win a “couple of” approvals for new medicines in 2018, Mr. Narasimhan said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Beijing. That follows agreements in China to pay for eight of its drugs. Talks with the Chinese regulator show the company’s ambition to accelerate the introduction of new technologies, such as CAR-T treatments for cancer. Global drug makers like Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis have benefited from a Chinese regulatory overhaul that has opened the market to a range of breakthrough therapies. Novartis is including China now in all late-stage trials on the back of regulatory changes that allow the company to get drugs to the market faster, Mr. Narasimhan said. The Swiss drugmaker last year filed for approval for 15 new products in China, which now accounts for about USD 2 billion in annual sales, he said.

  • Published by, 09th Mar 2018 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    Western Switzerland confirms its attractiveness with the establishment of 88 foreign companies in 2017. This positive result stems from the collaboration between the Greater Geneva Bern area (GGBa) and the economic development offices of its six member cantons. The investments coming from China and the United States experienced a record year.This outcome is the fruit of a long-term work of selective identification and prospection of potential targets that meet well-defined criteria, such as value added, jobs creation and innovation. Among the almost 240 companies that conducted assessment visits to the GGBa member cantons last year, some should get established in 2018 already.“Despite increased international competition, reinforced by the competition of the citiesthemselves, Western Switzerland did very well,” says Pierre Maudet, State Councilor of Geneva and President of the GGBa for two years. “But our lead is shrinking and requires highly attractive framework conditions. Taxation is a major issue that Switzerland must now be able to address without any further delay.” And a new office will soon be opened in Shenzhen, China.

  • Published by, 09th Mar 2018 in category Business in English

    Two Chinese banks have opened branches in Zurich so far. The representatives of the French-speaking financial markets in Switzerland now hope to convince the managers in China to soon set foot in the traditional home of private banking as well. The Greater Geneva Bern Area (GGBa), a business promoter founded in 2010, has Chinese business as its prime target – with a special emphasis on the banking industry. The talks about the opening of branches in Western Switzerland seem to be at an advanced stage. «I expect an opening in coming months, be it this year or in 2019» said Thomas Bohn, the director of GGBa, in an interview with «AWP» news agency (behind paywall). GGBa is in talks with several Chinese banks in connection with the opening of a branch, he added. Two Chinese banks have opened branches in Zurich so far. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) moved in last year, while China Construction Bank (CCB) had opened up shop in early 2016.

  • Published by, 23rd Feb 2018 in category Hospitality / Tourism / Retail in English

    Swiss watch exports saw their strongest growth in more than five years during 2017 according to a report by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Hong Kong and mainland China were the top two markets for Swiss watches, with sales in Hong Kong rising 21.3% to 15% of the market and mainland China sales skyrocketing by 44.3% to reach 10.9% of the market.According to Bloomberg, the 2012 crackdown on corruption that badly impacted the luxury watch market in China appears to have either played out or lost its teeth. Meanwhile, efforts by the Chinese government to bring luxury spending back to mainland China seem to be working.Independent of external factors, Swiss luxury watches remain hugely popular in China. A colloquialism illuminates how important they are to signaling success among Chinese elites.These are the five most popular Swiss luxury watch brands in China: Longines, Patek Philippe, Omega, Piaget, Rolex.

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

    According to a survey, 72% of Swiss business leaders in China expect “higher” or “substantially higher” sales of goods from Switzerland to China and Hong Kong in 2018 than in 2017, when exports reached a record CHF16.7 billion (USD 17.9 billion).Just 5% of business leaders anticipated lower export figures this year, according to the preliminary results of the 2018 Swiss Business in China Survey.According to the Swiss Centers China press release, in 2017Switzerland exported CHF16.7 billion worth of goods to China and Hong Kong, which is an increase of 13.8% on the previous year and represents a new record. China and Hong Kong bought CHF7.2 billion (USD 7.7 billion) worth of watches and precision instruments from the alpine nation in 2017, making China the largest world market for this category of Swiss products. “While Swiss exports in 2017 to key markets such as Germany, Italy and France did not yet rebound to their pre-crisis 2008 levels, exports to China and Hong Kong grew by 66%” from 2008 to 2017, said Swiss Centers China co-founder Nicolas Musy.After watches and precision instruments, the most important export sectors from Switzerland to China and Hong Kong in 2017 were pharmaceuticals and chemicals (+13% growth), as well as machinery (+12.8%).

  • Published by, 29th Jan 2018 in category Business in English

    Ant Financial Services Group today announced that Alipay is soon to be made available to most local businesses in the Swiss town of Davos, thanks to a partnership with SIX Payment Services, a pan-Europe payment service provider based in Switzerland. Restaurants, bars, supermarkets and hotels in Davos will be offering Alipay, all with merchant information available in Alipay’s in-app overseas traveller service platform. Alipay, along with its arch-rival WeChat Pay, has aggressively expanded globally in recent years. Data from research institution iResearch shows that the value of China’s mobile payments market tripled to more than RMB 38.5 trillion (USD 5.6 trillion) in 2016 and is projected to reach RMB 55 trillion in 2017. Comparing the marketshare, Alipay accounted for over 80% of transaction value just three years ago, however, it held a 54% share of mobile transactions by value, while WeChat Pay claimed 40%, in the first quarter of 2017. With around 40 flights between the two countries every week, China has become the fourth largest source of tourists to Switzerland and the two nations experienced over 1.2 million two-way visits between China and Switzerland in 2017, up 12% year-on-year. Holiday is the peak season, as Alipay overseas transaction grew by eight times over National Holiday Golden Week in 2017.

  • Published by, 24th Jan 2018 in category Bilateral Relations in English

    China and Switzerland Tuesday pledged to further promote bilateral relations, at a meeting here between senior officials of the two countries. Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, met with Ueli Maurer, vice president of the Swiss Confederation and head of the Finance Department. Thanks to the joint efforts of the presidents of both countries, China and Switzerland have further strengthened mutual trust and deepened economic and trade cooperation and the two sides should implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, further strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas, and advance the innovative Sino-Swiss strategic partnership, Liu said. Maurer admired the progress made by China, saying that Switzerland is very interested in China's opening up and is ready to further strengthen cooperation with China in various fields. Switzerland is ready to encourage more Swiss companies to invest in China and also supports Chinese investment in Switzerland, and Switzerland plans to coordinate cooperation with China within the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, and to promote the continuous development of bilateral relations of friendship and cooperation in all fields, Maurer said.

  • 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.