• Published by, 25th Oct 2016 in category Culture & Society in English

    After a mixed summer with fewer Chinese tourists, Switzerland’s tourism office predicts a 'stable' winter season for 2016-2017. It hopes to attract expatriates and Chinese visitors to the slopes. These are difficult times for the tourism business in the small alpine nation. The number of overnight stays by Chinese tourists fell by 19.7% in summer, Switzerland Tourism reported on Tuesday. This is a worrying trend for tourism officials, as Chinese visitors were leading recent growth in Switzerland up until recently. The lower numbers are partly due to the terrorist threats in Europe as Switzerland is closely associated with France, according to the tourism office. Earlier this year Switzerland Tourism reported that the drop-off in numbers was also partly linked to the new requirement for biometric fingerprint data for visas. Since last November, this has been mandatory for anyone applying for a visa to Europe’s Schengen zone of countries, including Switzerland. This means all Chinese tourists must travel to a Swiss consulate in person to apply.

  • Published by, 19th Sep 2016 in category Culture & Society in English

    One of the highlights of the Shanghai cultural agenda is the yearly Shanghai Tourism Festival. The city celebrates its 27th edition from 10 to 13 September. Performers from all over the world will descend on Shanghai to entertain locals and tourists alike with activities reflecting cultures and customs from their home countries. This year, the festival launch starts with the grand opening at Huaihai Road (close to the Shanghai Times Square) in the evening of 10 September. "Weidfäger Wolhusen" and "Brass Band MG Oberrüti" are representing Switzerland in the parade. The Swiss musicians will perform during the whole festival at different venues in Shanghai.

  • Published by, 15th Sep 2016 in category General Interest in English

    The Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong cordially invites Alumni of Swiss Public Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences currently living in Hong Kong and Macao (incl. former exchange students) as well as current exchange students from Switzerland in Hong Kong to the traditional Swiss Alumni Event 2016: Connecting People Around the Gotthard: Swiss Alumni Event 2016. On 1 June, 2016, Switzerland celebrated the opening of the world’s longest railway tunnel, which was a milestone of worldwide significance. For this occasion we invited Prof. Emeritus Christian Schlüchter – Assistant Professor between 1986 and 1983 at the Institute of Geology at the ETHZ and Professor and Chair in Quaternary and Environmental Geology at the University of Bern – to talk about this masterpiece in engineering from a geological point of view. Join us for this fascinating talk about the geology and the difficulties to cut a tunnel through the Gotthard Massive. Additionally the Consulate General of Switzerland will present a small exhibition which documents the Gotthard Base Tunnel from sketch to construction, proudly brought to you by Presence Switzerland.

  • Published by, 12th Sep 2016 in category BUSINESS NEWS in English

    The latest data from People’s Bank of China (PBoC) shows that FX reserve in China is continuing their decline and in August the total reserve has declined to USD 3.185 trillion, down half a percent from July. The reserve is still decline but compared to last year, the decline has slowed down a lot. In June 2014, China’s foreign exchange reserve has touched the highest on record top USD 3.99 trillion. The reserve is down more than 20% from the peak. However since January, this year it has stabilized.  Since January, it is down just 0.04 trillion. Last year, reserve declined just short of USD 600 billion. Some of the other indicators from China, such as house prices and PMI reports also pointing to stabilization, if not recovery. While China’s story has been about the bleeding of the reserve, it has been just opposite for Switzerland, which is suffering from a chronic problem of increase in foreign exchange reserves due to the intervention of Swiss National Bank in order to keep the exchange rate steady, and inflows of foreign funds. In August FX reserve increased by USD 12 billion, and it has increased from USD 227 billion in 2012. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned its euro-franc peg in January last year but FX reserve has increased by USD 130 billion since, which is equivalent to almost 20% of GDP.

  • Published by, 07th Sep 2016 in category General Interest in English

    The bi-annual Economic Report looks into China’s current economic development. It offers an overview of China’s macroeconomic situation, and analyses the structural reforms launched in 2015 as well as in China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). It also provides an insight into China’s international and regional economic agreements, and discusses the outlook for the Sino-Swiss economic agreements. Download the report here.

  • Published by, 04th Sep 2016 in category BUSINESS NEWS in English

    Switzerland retained its title as the world's most innovative country, followed by Sweden and the United Kingdom, according to this year's Global Innovation Index. China was ranked 25th – the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have dominated the top of the index in its nine editions. The Global Innovation Index 2016, co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), surveyed 128 economies, using 82 indicators to gauge both innovative capabilities and measurable results. The world's top 10 most innovative economies are: 10. Germany; 9. Netherlands; 8. Denmark; 7. Ireland; 6. Singapore; 5. Finland; 4. United States of America; 3. United Kingdom; 2. Sweden; 1. Switzerland.

  • Published by, 02nd Sep 2016 in category Engineering / Manufacturing in English

    Commodities and mining group Glencore PLC reported a narrower first-half net loss and signaled that it's on track to significantly reduce its net debt by selling unwanted assets to weather the recent commodities turmoil. The world's third largest diversified miner by market value reported a USD 369 million net loss for the six months ended 30 June, 2016, helped by cost reductions, compared with a USD 676 million net loss in the same period a year before. Revenue fell 6% on year to USD 69.4 billion due to broadly lower commodity prices as well as lower copper, zinc, coal and oil production in the first half compared with the same period a year before. Glencore's shares have more than doubled so far this year, buoyed by a surge in commodity prices that caught analysts off guard. Production cutbacks, particularly in zinc, and sturdy demand in China, the world's largest consumer of many commodities, after Beijing's recent economic stimulus, have contributed to improved prices.

  • Published by, 30th Aug 2016 in category BUSINESS NEWS in English

    After a very successful second edition of the program venture leaders China in 2015, 10 new Swiss startups forming the “Swiss national startup team” are ready to conquer the Middle Kingdom in October 2016. They will meet local investors, dive into China’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and learn about the opportunities of doing business there. For Swiss startups, China is a key market to explore. With the necessity to increase the visibility of Swiss high-tech innovation in China, venturelab launched the first edition of venture leaders China in 2014 on the model of the venture leaders programs in New York and Boston. This year’s finalists will pitch their novel technologies to local investors, experts and entrepreneurs in four fast paced innovation hubs: Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and for the first time this year, Hong Kong. The trip is coorganized with swissnex China.

  • Published by, 26th Aug 2016 in category General Interest in English

    The Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich is the best university in continental Europe and the 19th worldwide, according the latest Shanghai ranking of world universities. The top three spots were captured by Harvard, Stanford and UC Berkeley in the US. The University of Cambridge in the UK is ranked the best European university, coming in fourth place overall. All the universities to rank ahead of the ETH Zurich come from the US and the UK. The ETH Zurich is followed by the University of Tokyo to complete the top 20. The ETH Zurich moved up one notch from 2015, though it had placed 19th two years ago. The university has been steadily moving up the ranking over the years, having come in 27th ten years ago. The Shanghai ranking has been published annually since 2003. It compares universities according to six indicators, including the number alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals and the number of articles cited in scientific indices.

  • Published by, 23rd Aug 2016 in category Bank / Finance / Insurance in English

    Swiss Re announced a public-private partnership with the government of Heilongjiang Province, China and the Sunlight Agriculture Mutual Insurance Company of China for a reinsurance protection scheme. As communicated by Swiss Re, the scheme – which covers 28 poverty-stricken counties in Northeast China – is the first that the Chinese government establishes using commercial insurance programmes to protect farmers against financial risks from natural catastrophes, and it is also the first anti-poverty insurance deal in the country. The scheme provides financial compensation for harm to lives and property of farming families and covers loss of income after floods, excessive rain, drought and low temperatures for a total of up to USD 348 million. Swiss Re global partnerships Chairman Martyn Parker said: “This is a real innovation and a groundbreaking success in supporting China to protect against fiscal fluctuation caused by natural disasters. It has also set up an excellent example of public private partnership in mitigating natural catastrophe risks with insurance programs.”